But she worked hard to reassure all those who voted to Leave that there will be a ‘strictly time-limited implementation’ period of two years.
Instead of a grand, detailed vision with her personal stamp upon it, to some extent she tried pleasing all sides. What else could she have done in Florence at that moment? Mrs May was not aiming to get Britain through the next four years but the next five or six months. And in doing so, to unblock negotiations which have stalled, she had to play many trump cards.
Her Florence speech confirmed the UK’s intention to adopt a status quo transition, where the UK continues to operate under ‘the existing structure of EU rules and regulations', for around two years after March 2019. Mrs May also said that no member state would have to pay more, or receive less from the EU budget until 2020, the end of the current multiannual budget period.
Did she make too many concessions? Impossible to answer. Everything will be forgotten when there is a bold, flexible final deal. The Prime Minister, much too vaguely, tried to outline one in her speech. And do not overlook that she repeated: better no deal than a bad deal. Anyhow, Mrs May made a reasonable offer and the EU must respond.
The question now whether the EU will be reasonable as well. Not many EU watchers outside the Brussels bubble are expecting that. The ‘war’ will go on. It looks as though the EU negotiators don’t want to negotiate at all. Under the guise of negotiations, Barnier and his team want to force May to give, unconditionally, everything that Brussels wants. After that, they, perhaps, might be willing to hear what she wants….