Published: Wed, December 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Donald Tusk calls Brexit talks a furious race against time

Donald Tusk calls Brexit talks a furious race against time

Mr Davis "clarified" his comments the following day, claiming that when he said the deal was a "statement of intent" he actually meant the deal was "more than just legally enforceable".

'My question to anybody within the British government would be, why would there be an agreement, a set of principled agreements, in order to get to phase two, if they weren't going to be held up?

The European Parliament motions are supported by Mr Verhofstadt, leader of the liberal group and the Parliament's Brexit coordinator - as well as Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People's Party group, and Gianni Pittella, the socialist group leader.

"And it is the clear understanding that it is fully backed and endorsed by the United Kingdom government", the European Commission's chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters in Brussels.

The EU and Britain, which is will leave the EU in March 2019, agreed last Friday on the divorce terms in three key areas - a financial settlement, citizens' rights and how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. "We will not accept any backtracking from the UK", Barnier said at a press conference.

"To say we are annoyed is putting it too strongly, though", said one diplomat.

This forms the backdrop to the discussion taking place among EU ministers about the European Council's draft guidelines for Phase 2 of the Brexit talks.

"Remarks by David Davis that Phase One deal last week not binding were unhelpful and undermines trust".

Although the precise shape of the UK's "no hard Border" commitment will not emerge until its trade relationship with the European Union is agreed in talks that can not start until after Brexit, well after the withdrawal agreement will be signed, Irish officials and lawyers are understood to be working with the commission on means of expressing those commitments in the treaty.

EU27 ministers are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to decide the wording for a separate agreement to formally move talks on to future relations with the UK.

A second amendment, also backed cross-party by all the non-eurosceptic groups, says "comments made like those by David Davis calling the outcome of phase I of the negotiations a mere "statement of intent", risk to undermine the good faith that has been built during the negotiations".

Mr Verhofstadt has introduced the amendments alongside the leaders of four other European Parliament political groups.

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