The British government’s key Brexit red lines – controlling EU immigration, ending the jurisdiction of the European court of justice, calling time on further big EU budget contributions – are by now well known, set out first in speeches by Theresa May and later confirmed in a government white paper.
But what of the EU’s red lines? Here we map the concerns, priorities and demands of each of the UK’s 27 negotiating partners. Some are shared, more or less, by all; others are strictly national. All will play a part in the deal Britain gets – because Brexit also means what the EU27 want it to mean.
Italy has been far less confrontational over Brexit than some EU member (despite a spat over prosecco sales). After a the December referendum, the government is focused above all on domestic politics.
Rome has two key Brexit red lines: maintaining the link between the single market and free movement, and ensuring the rights of Italians in the UK. But analysts say it feels less exposed to the ill-effects of Brexit than others so sees a possible role as a mediator.
“In general we consider this a damage limitation process, not an opportunity,” said Sandro Gozi, undersecretary of European affairs. “We are going to lose something, and the UK is going to lose more.”
It is worried, though, about the timing of the UK’s article 50 declaration: Italy’s celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome are on 25 March. “We will be more interested in those who want to share a common future than those who do not want a future,” Gozi said.