Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

'The clock is ticking', European Union tells Brexit Britain

'The clock is ticking', European Union tells Brexit Britain

In an article for the Sunday Times at the weekend, Prime Minister Theresa May said her government was aiming to "leave the customs union so we can establish our own independent trade policy and negotiate trade deals in our interests".

Ms May is being urged by senior Tories to abandon her support for a so-called "customs partnership" with the European Union, with hopes rising in Eurosceptic circles that the prime minister will switch her support to their favoured option.

On the "max fac" proposal, Ms Thornberry asked: "Can the foreign secretary confirm. if the technology his proposal relies upon takes five years to become fully functional, then the United Kingdom will be obliged to remain part of the customs union and be bound by single market rules until at least 2023?"

The UK government does not now have an answer to post-Brexit trading arrangements with the European Union, the first minister has said.

He went on: "The prime minister in her Mansion House speech gave plenty of indications of how we will deal with the problems that [Ms Thornberry] describes".

"More work is needed to prepare for the UK's orderly withdrawal..."

"The Council was informed that not much progress has been made" since the last meeting of European Union leaders in March, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told reporters in Brussels after an update from Barnier. "Their proposals mean hard borders, unfortunately". Some key issues related to the withdrawal agreement need to be settled, Reuters quoted her as saying. "In June we need to see substantive progress on Ireland, on governance and all remaining separation issues", Zakharieva said.

Her comment was echoed by French foreign minister Jean-Yves le Drian following talks with Mr Johnson in London.

"I think nobody must underestimate the key rendezvous of June", France's Barnier told a security conference in Brussels. "What is worrying us in particular is the Northern Ireland question where we expect a substantial accommodation from the British side".

"Now we need to make significant progress, but that never happens - admitted Mouth".

It should do this before next month's European Council meeting, it added, recommending that Britain should try to negotiate observer status in the EU's Political and Security Committee after Brexit.

He emphasized that "the clock is ticking" as the United Kingdom and the EU should agree on the Brexit conditions before November as both the British and the European Parliaments as well as all the EU Council need to ratify the deal.

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