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1ST LEAD Britain's May to share 'ambitious vision' a year ahead of Brexit day By Helen Maguire, dpa

Europe
29.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
London (dpa) - British Prime Minister Theresa May is due Thursday to mark the one-year countdown to Brexit with a tour of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to share her "ambitious vision" for the future of the country.

May will speak to a range of people, telling them that "regardless of whether they backed Leave or Remain, what is important now is making Brexit a success for everyone," according to a statement from her office.

She will meet Scottish textile workers, a parent-and-toddler group in the northern English city of Newcastle, farmers in the Northern Irish capital, Belfast, and Welsh business representatives, before joining Polish citizens in London for tea, according to Downing Street.

Britain is due to leave the European Union at 11 pm (2300 GMT) on March 29, 2019. Both sides have agreed in principle to a transition period lasting through 2020, under which the bulk of EU rules will continue to apply.

Talks between London and Brussels are now beginning on Britain‘s relationship with the EU - and the rest of the world - after Brexit.

"I have an ambitious vision for that future. It‘s a future in which we trade freely with friends and partners in Europe and beyond, and build on the progress we‘ve made as a country over the past few years," May wrote in an article for the Daily Mail newspaper.

Brexit must not only lock in Britain‘s current economic success, but also make the country "even more prosperous and secure," she added.

Britain and the EU are at odds over the depth of their future relations, after London interpreted the Brexit referendum outcome as a mandate to leave both the EU‘s customs union and the single market.

Britain nonetheless hopes to retain access to some segments of the single market, while Brussels has ruled out a pick-and-choose approach.

Thorny divorce issues include the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

London has pledged to impose no new barriers to trade on the island of Ireland, while also ruling out new divisions between Northern Ireland and Britain.

"I have an absolute responsibility to protect the integrity of the United Kingdom as a whole," May said on Thursday. "That means ensuring that no new barriers are created within our common domestic market," she added, calling this "crucial" to the country‘s success.

 

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