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EU Commission gives May until Sunday to deliver Brexit deal

Europe
07.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Brussels (dpa) - British Prime Minister Theresa May has until Sunday to come to Brussels with new Brexit proposals, to leave enough time for discussions on future trade relations to begin next week, the European Commission says.

The European Union wants clarity on three key aspects of Britain‘s departure before agreeing to start talks on future relations - a step that London hopes to achieve at a summit of EU leaders on December 14-15.

But May‘s proposals have become mired in domestic opposition.

Talks between Brussels and London are still ongoing, but so far there is "no white smoke," said commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas, adding that May would have to come back with proposals "this week."

"In this building we work for a full week 24/7, and our week includes Sunday," he noted.

Reports of a deadline extension into next week "are not correct," Schinas said, adding that senior EU diplomats were meeting on Monday to prepare next week‘s summit.

A breakthrough had been expected last Monday, when May met commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. But last-minute disagreement emerged over the sticky issue of Northern Ireland‘s border with the Republic of Ireland, one of the three areas in which progress is needed before trade talks can begin.

The other two issues are citizens‘ rights post-Brexit and Britain‘s outstanding financial obligations to the EU.

Time is of the essence, with Britain due to leave the bloc in March 2019.

"Every day lost makes this more difficult," Schinas said of the negotiations.

 

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