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EU Says Little Progress Made in Brexit Talks With Britain

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British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis left, and European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier participate in a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. voa
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he European Union’s Brexit negotiator said Thursday that that little progress was made with the U.K. in a fifth round of talks on the country’s departure from the EU in 2019 and that he cannot yet recommend broadening negotiations to include trade.

Michel Barnier said that despite the “constructive spirit” shown in this week’s negotiations in Brussels, “we haven’t made any great steps forward.” On the question of how much Britain has to pay to settle its financial commitments, he said: “We have reached a state of deadlock, which is disturbing.”

Barnier said he would not be able to recommend to EU leaders meeting next week that “sufficient progress” has been made to broaden the talks to future EU-British relations like trade.

The leaders meet in Brussels on Oct. 19-20, and it had been hoped they would agree to widen the talks.

The EU says this can only happen when there has been progress on the issues of the financial settlement, the rights of citizens affected by Brexit and the status of the Northern Ireland-Ireland border.

But Britain says these issues are closely intertwined with their future relations like trade and must be discussed together.

“I hope the member states will see the progress we have made and take a step forward” next week, British Brexit envoy David Davis told reporters.

“We would like them to give Michel the means to broaden the negotiations. It’s up to them whether they do it. Clearly I think it’s in the interests of the United Kingdom and the European Union that they do,” Davis said.

Barnier said the two sides would work to achieve “sufficient progress” in time for a subsequent meeting of EU leaders in December.

Britain must leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but the negotiations must be completed within about a year to leave time for EU states’ national parliaments to ratify the Brexit agreement.(VOA)

 

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Brexit Consequences Getting Tougher for Theresa May

In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU.

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May's spokesperson said both the Prime Minister and the Brexit secretary, David Davis, said the government would be robust when the EU withdrawal bill returned to the House of Commons after completing its passage in the House of Lords.
Brexit representational image, Pixabay

Confidence in Britain’s Brexit negotiations ending successfully have hit a new low, according to a new opinion poll.

A poll published on Tuesday by the Guardian newspaper and ICM revealed that only 28 per cent think the Brexit talks will conclude satisfactorily, against 47 percent who now think they will end unsatisfactorily, Xinhua reported.

In a similar poll in December 39 per cent feared an unsatisfactory outcome, but 35 per cent were confident of a satisfactory outcome.

The results came as Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet met at 10 Downing Street to discuss a string of votes in the House of Commons Monday. The votes saw unelected peers in the House of Lords backing amendments against May’s flagship European Union withdrawal bill.

The biggest blow was an amendment passed by 335 votes to 244, which would give MPs the power to stop Britain from leaving the EU without a deal, or make May return to the negotiating table, ruling out a no-deal scenario.

Journalists briefed after the cabinet meeting were told later that May and cabinet ministers expressed strong disappointment at the defeats in the House of Lords over the EU withdrawal bill.

Downing Street said there was concern the amendments risked tying the government’s hands behind its back in negotiations.

In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU.
Theresa May , wikimedia commons

May’s spokesperson said both the Prime Minister and the Brexit secretary, David Davis, said the government would be robust when the EU withdrawal bill returned to the House of Commons after completing its passage in the House of Lords.

In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU.

Fox said the House of Lords amendment opened up the possibility of delaying Britain’s exit from the EU indefinitely.

It will be up to the House of Commons to decide whether to accept the amendments to the Brexit bill from the House of Lords, or strike out the proposed changes.

With May running a minority government, shored up by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, victory for the prime minister is far from guaranteed, particularly with a number of pre-EU rebels among her ranks.

Also Read: British Children Learning Basics of FGM to Curb the Taboos

To add to May’s woes, media reports in London say several of her senior ministers have threatened to resign if she strikes a deal that will keep Britain in a customs union.

The Independent newspaper Tuesday night reported that May was preparing for a Brexit meeting with select cabinet ministers Wednesday at which they will try to come up with a joint position on post-withdrawal customs relations following rejection of Britain’s existing proposals. (IANS)

 

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