Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Bettel says United Kingdom must 'take decisions now' on Brexit

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is desperate to make the Brexit deal work UK Prime Minister Theresa May is desperate to make the Brexit deal
Lisa Bryan | 20 October, 2018, 02:51

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said "much more time" was needed, and that he would continue working "calmly and patiently".

"They are trying to leave this so late that they can credibly say there is no alternative but a "no-deal" Brexit, and most people agree that would be chaos", Mr. Boles told the BBC.

"We are working with European Union to deal with this issue of ensuring that if there is a gap between the end of the implementation period and the point when the future relationship comes in - and we don't expect a gap to exist - we want to ensure there's no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, " May said.

The Irish border is the major sticking point blocking a deal.

The lack of progress means a special European Union summit on Brexit that had been penciled in for next month has been scrapped, though European Union leaders said they would assess the situation later.

Tajani said May said she would evaluate an idea to extend the post-Brexit transition period by a year from the current cut-off date at the end of 2020 but that the British prime minister did not say whether she would favour that, or not.

The transition - during which the United Kingdom would remain in the single market and customs union and subject to EU rules - is meant to provide time for authorities and officials to prepare for new arrangements following the official date of Brexit in March 2019.

However, European Council president Donald Tusk has warned that without new "concrete proposals" from the British to break the logjam over the Irish border backstop, further progress on a deal may be impossible.

"Nothing new tonight", Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said after an evening when not exacerbating divisions with Britain was seen as a victory in itself. He said that while "every effort" is being made to reach a deal, "leaders will discuss how to step up our preparations for a no-deal scenario".

"There is a message of goodwill, readiness to reach an agreement".


This option is not well received in the United Kingdom, however, where some Conservatives and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) claim it would essentially break up the United Kingdom, as it might necessitate border checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

"And the European Parliament would not or should not approve a deal that undermines the single market and doesn't give Ireland what we need in relation to the backstop".

She added that 28 months after the Brexit referendum, in June 2016, London had still not explained clearly how it wants to leave the EU.

Such a border would violate the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) or Belfast Agreement that Northern Ireland's present devolved system of government is based on.

The French Government yesterday published draft no-deal legislation that could require British citizens to obtain a visa before travelling to France following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

Britain and the European Union say they are hopeful of progress in the next few weeks, pushing the timeline for a deal into November, or even December, when another European Union summit is scheduled. "If they knew the negotiations were being pushed right up against the next election, why would they be conciliatory in these negotiations?"

By bowing to the European Union on this point, she risks a political fight domestically.

Asked if the whole deal could founder over the border issue, he replied: "My answer is yes". Now we know our limits: we don't want an agreement which calls into question the integrity of the single market, or the four freedoms, or which does damage to Ireland.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar summed it up by saying "big gaps" remained between the two sides "both in terms of the shape of the future relationship and also the protocol on Northern Ireland and Ireland and the backstop".

But any extension will need to take into account concerns on both sides to avoid the transition ending with no deal.

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