06:19 GMT27 January 2020
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    Theresa May is due to make a key speech on Brexit in Italy on Friday, September 22. Sputnik spoke to a politics professor, who explained what she needed to say in Florence.

    Theresa May is briefing her Cabinet on Thursday, September 21, ahead of Friday's key speech on Brexit in Florence and there are reports that she is going to make an "open and generous offer".

    Dr. Oliver Daddow, assistant professor in British politics and security at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham, said he was "not optimistic" about the speech.

    "What she needs is concrete proposals. We have had a lot of shadow boxing since she invoked Article 50 and a lot of mood music, but if her aim is to move onto negotiations about future trade, she needs to get past the two big obstacles — rights for EU citizens and the 'divorce bill,' " Dr. Daddow told Sputnik.

    "There is no indication of whether she will make an offer or whether it will be a big enough offer, but some of the spin is that she is bypassing the European Commission by trying to appeal directly to leaders of some EU countries," he added.

    Going Over the Heads of the EC

    Dr. Daddow said this could be a dangerous strategy as Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, had been appointed by the European Commission (EC) itself.

    "He is the person we need to get on with. He is the person to do deals with," said Dr. Daddow.

    He also pointed out that negotiations over the so-called "divorce bill" — the amount Britain will be expected to pay on leaving the EU in March 2019 — had been very contentious.

    "She seems to be treating it a bit like the football transfer window, and these numbers have been bandied about as if it's the last day of the transfer window," Dr. Daddow told Sputnik.

    'Pay Up and Go'

    Dr. Daddow said he feared the PM might suggest offering £20 billion (US$27 billion), with possibly more money to follow later, when the EU wanted between £60 billion (US$81 billion) and £100 billion (US$135 billion) and in one lump sum.

    "The EU want a lot more and a more final approach. They want us to pay up and go," Dr. Daddow told Sputnik.

    He said Mrs. May has also been facing the problem of having Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson "backseat driving" her negotiations with his overly optimistic alternative Brexit strategy.

    Rescue by the Anglosphere?

    Dr. Daddow said Mr. Johnson and others, like International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, seemed to think Britain would be "rescued" by English-speaking countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    But he also said this was a delusion as most of these countries were far more interesting in maintaining trade links with the EU bloc.

    Dr. Daddow said he expected Mrs. May's speech to start out by offering platitudes.

    "She will probably say stuff about Britain still being in Europe and leaving the EU, not Europe. The meat will probably be in the later stages," he told Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Brexit 'divorce bill', Brexit negotiations, Brexit talks, offer, Brexit, deal, negotiations, trade, European Commission, European Union, Michel Barnier, Theresa May, Florence, Italy, Britain, United Kingdom
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