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Here’s what went down in Florence at Theresa May’s Brexit speech

"We're definitely making progress, guys!"

Yesterday, Theresa gave a v hyped up speech in Florence about what the hell’s going on with Brexit. And the fact is, well, we still have no idea. Here are the main things she said, though:

There’s gonna be a two year “transitional period”

We’re set to leave the EU in March 2019, but we won’t be diving in head first. May reckons we’ll need another two years to get used to this. The EU have said that during a transition period, we still need to abide by EU rules and continue to allow the free movement of people.

May was like ‘yeah alright fair play then’, saying market access “should continue on current terms” and that during the “strictly limited” transition period, we’ll be playing by their rules. The only big change will be that from 29 March 2019, all new EU arrivals will be registered… eek.


EU citizens still get rights, which is nice

She even offered to write legal protections for EU citizens living in the UK into the actual exit treaty, which was kind of a bold move for her after the Tories previously had said that MPs could alter EU citizens’ rights.

 “I want to incorporate the agreement fully into UK law and make sure British courts can refer directly to it […] I want UK courts to be able to take into account the judgments of the European Court of Justice with a view to ensuring consistent interpretation.”

So even though we won’t be adhering to the European Court of Justice when it comes to UK citizens, we’ll take their points of view into account when it comes to EU citizens. Cute.

Still no clue wtf is going on with Ireland, though

Nothing was set in stone about the Irish border, except that there won’t be physical barriers there. But there was nothing said about how this would actually work or what is actually gonna happen.

We’re still gonna provide security

Theresa said she wanted “a bold new strategic agreement” for European defence, providing a “comprehensive framework for future security, law enforcement and criminal justice cooperation”.

She said the UK was “unconditionally committed” to European security, and we would still provide aid in cases of terrorism, natural or man made disasters. But the EU aren’t going to look at it as bribery for a better Brexit deal…

Neither Norway or Canada

We basically want a bespoke agreement, tailored to fit us like a prom dress that ain’t quite right. We don’t want to follow in the footsteps of Norway or Canada, but do our own thing (hence why the whole thing is taking so damn long).

Michel Barnier, is saying a big fat no to this, though. He’s saying we can’t have our cake and eat it – we can’t have JUST the benefits of both a Norway-style agreement and a Canada-style agreement, without the drawbacks.

Theresa’s not having that though. Having to just pick one of the two was not “best for either the UK or the EU”. A Norway-style deal would mean “a loss of democratic control”, while a Canada-style deal would be “a restriction on our market access”.


So basically, we still haven’t got a clue what’s going on. Woohoo!


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