UK PM meets Macron ahead of Brexit talks

19 October, 2018, 08:51 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Theresa May makes a statement on Brexit negotiations

"And by refusing to meet their representatives, Theresa May is also ignoring the democratic will of the majority in the north who voted to reject Brexit". Many British business leaders fear a no-deal Brexit would be devastating to the economy because it could lead to the imposition of stiff tariff and non-tariff barriers by the European Union, which is the U.K.'s biggest trading partner.

While it could help May sell a deal at home, it won't remove the need to accept the most controversial part of the EU's proposal - that in a last-resort situation, Northern Ireland could be split off from the rest of Britain.

"I believe everybody around the table wants to get a deal". It is understood that the meeting was "cordial and positive".

But with divorce talks stuck, the bloc has suggested extending that period, to give more time to strike a trade deal that ensures the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remains friction-free - the main sticking point to a Brexit deal.

While Mr Varadkar was positive in his response, he still stressed that Ireland expected United Kingdom commitments on the Border to be honoured. Any deal that is struck needs time to be approved by the British and European Parliaments.

Extending the transition period could mean that if a future partnership is not ready, a backstop, which so far has been unpalatable to the British side, would not have to be triggered.

Britain officially is to leave the bloc in March and to have agreed to an exit deal well before then, but London and Brussels previously had agreed there would be a transition period to conclude at the end of 2020, by which time both sides hope some kind of trade agreement also would have been concluded.

The Taoiseach said Ireland could look favourably on such a plan which would be helpful to everyone concerned as the implications of Brexit could require more time. And the European Union accepted this proposal unanimously.

The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats said extending the transition was another "embarrassing climbdown" for May.

The idea of extending the transition would be to give more time to negotiate a deal on future relations and find a formula to defuse the Irish border question.

DC think tank declines Saudi money amid Khashoggi controversy
Trump tweeted early Monday that Salman denied any knowledge of "whatever may have happened 'to our Saudi Arabian citizen'". Saudi arch-rival Iran said on Monday it would adopt a wait-and-see approach to Khashoggi's disappearance.

Asked on Thursday morning if he had enjoyed the night, Bettel told CNN that he had, adding that such post-work meetings were important and that "even though we are politicians, we are also humans".

May spoke a day after Tusk implored her to present new ideas for resolving the tricky problem of how to keep the land border between the Republic of Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland friction-free once Britain no longer is an European Union member.

Irish officials signalled that a decision may follow today on whether a special November summit will be called.

In a 20-minute speech, she said: "We have shown we can do hard deals together constructively".

"My view is that we should really only have one if there is a objective to having one".

Other delegations expressed a certain mannerly frustration with the UK's failure to advance the action.

The harshest words came from Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who alluded to Mrs May's difficulties in being able to unite her government.

The prime minister has refused to accept European Union demands for an indefinite Brexit backstop but pro-Leave ministers are still anxious by the direction of talks. "They were taking credit for the amendments to the Joint Report last December and now it is coming back to bite us all". They do not know themselves what they want. "That is the problem", the Lithuanian president told reporters.

The attendees were Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, and perhaps most worryingly for the prime minister, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.


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