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EU insists: post Brexit deal conditioned to UK offer of further concessions

Saturday, November 25th 2017 - 08:10 UTC
Full article 40 comments
Talks on trade will not be allowed to begin until EU leaders are satisfied that “sufficient progress” has been made, Tusk told Mrs May Talks on trade will not be allowed to begin until EU leaders are satisfied that “sufficient progress” has been made, Tusk told Mrs May

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been given 10 days to offer further concessions on issues including the Brexit divorce bill and the complex matter of the Northern Irish border if she wants European Union leaders to agree to trade talks.

 Mrs. May hopes a crunch summit in Brussels next month will give the green light to move on to the next stage of the Brexit process, covering future trading arrangements and a possible implementation period to avoid a cliff-edge for businesses.

Talks on trade will not be allowed to begin until European Union leaders are satisfied that “sufficient progress” has been made on the first round of issues being discussed including the divorce bill the UK will pay to Brussels and the Northern Irish border.

After talks with the Prime Minister, European Council president Donald Tusk said it was “possible” sufficient progress could be made at the December summit but remained a “huge challenge”.

“We need to see progress from UK within 10 days on all issues, including on Ireland,” he said.

As she left a gathering of European leaders in Brussels, Mrs. May said: “There are still issues across the various matters we are negotiating on to be resolved but there has been a very positive atmosphere in the talks and a genuine feeling that we want to move forward together.”

On the border issue, Mrs. May is coming under intense pressure from Dublin for fresh assurances there will be no “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warning that deadlock in Brexit negotiations cannot be broken until the issue is resolved.

The Prime Minister insisted “we have the same desire – we want to ensure that movement of people and trade across that border can carry on as now”.

Mrs. May’s comments came after Downing Street backed away from suggestions that Northern Ireland’s continued membership of the EU customs union could be up for negotiation in Brexit talks.

A Number 10 spokesman told reporters the UK continued to look for “an innovative way forward” on the issue. Asked whether Northern Ireland could remain in the customs union following Brexit, the spokesman said: “That is a matter for negotiations.”

But a Downing Street source later insisted the Government’s position that the whole of the UK will leave both the customs union and single market after Brexit has not changed.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said on Friday it was difficult to see how border checks could be avoided if the UK’s departure from the customs union and single market resulted in “regulatory divergence” between the North and the Republic.

Mr Varadkar has previously suggested a “bespoke” arrangement, similar to that operated on the Isle of Man, under which Northern Ireland, or the whole of the UK, would continue to observe the rules of the single market and customs union without necessarily remaining a member of them.

As well as talks with Mr Tusk and Mrs Merkel in Brussels, the Prime Minister also had meetings with Danish premier Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Belgium’s Charles Michel, and Lithuania’s Saulius Skvernelis in the margins of the Eastern Partnership summit.

One of the issues under discussion was thought to be the amount the UK is prepared to offer Brussels following reports that Cabinet ministers agreed to double the sum originally put on the table by Mrs May to around £40 billion.

However it is thought she does not want to name a precise figure until she has a clear idea of what kind of trade deal is available with the remaining EU member states in the phase two negotiations.

The Prime Minister said: “We have been talking about how we can progress the issue in relation to the financial settlement. I have set out the position. I did so in the Florence speech.

“I said that we would honor our commitments. I said that no member state of the European Union need worry that they would receive less or have to pay more in the current budget plan.”

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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  • The Voice

    Cranfield wasnt in the dark ages it was in the 80s. Enough to write programs to predict the acceleration of various very large pumps in power stations, 20MW, critically important when everyone puts the kettle on simultaneously.

    Nov 27th, 2017 - 06:22 am +3
  • The Voice

    DT, the first program I wrote was at the RAE - Mercury Autocode. Then a bit of Fortran, Basic, BBC Micro, Spectrum, C, C++ I think, a grapple with assembler. But, programing never really interested me, others were much better at it. Very interesting times and fascinating to be able to quickly do complex iterative calculations, model heat transfer, analyse stresses and fluid flows. Then CAD, automated design macros, finite elements, stereolithography etc etc. And then came the Internet - do you rememember JANET? Its all come a lot further since I retired but its all still underpinned by the basic mechanics dynamics, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics and the vital bit is to get that all correct because if its wrong everythings wrong. The stuff that really fascinated me was innovative and elegant design. Hard to teach, and more of an artistic gift. One of my Engineers a Chinese Malayan guy did all the calculations. A very competent programer. My son is an IT Director for a group of companies, he was an Engineer once too.

    Nov 27th, 2017 - 10:58 pm +3
  • LEPRecon

    Quite frankly the EU should be told to foxtrot oscar. We don't need them, they need us, and if we just walk away they'll be the ones to suffer most.

    Yes there will be a period of hardship, but at least we'll only have ourselves to look after, not have to cough up to support other countries in the EU.

    Come on Mrs May, grow some balls and tell the EU where they can shove their 'deals'.

    Nov 25th, 2017 - 11:16 am +2
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