EU pre­par­ing for pos­si­ble col­lapse of Brexit talks

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The Euro­pean Union’s chief ne­go­tia­tor says the bloc is pre­par­ing for the pos­si­ble col­lapse of Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions with Bri­tain and is mak­ing contin­gency plans in this re­gard.

Michel Barnier made the re­marks while talk­ing to French news­pa­per Le Jour­nal du Di­manche on Sun­day, days af­ter giv­ing Bri­tain a two-week dead­line to clar­ify its po­si­tion on key is­sues.

He said that the fail­ure of ne­go­ti­a­tions was a “pos­si­bil­ity” but went on to clar­ify that he did not want such an out­come.

“It’s a pos­si­bil­ity. Ev­ery­one needs to plan for it, mem­ber states and busi­nesses alike. We too are mak­ing tech­ni­cal prepa­ra­tions for it. On March 29, 2019, the United King­dom will be­come a third coun­try,” he told the news­pa­per.

“A fail­ure of the ne­go­ti­a­tions would have con­se­quences on mul­ti­ple do­mains,” he added.

Last Fri­day, Barnier told Bri­tain that it had just two weeks to make its po­si­tion clear on the Brexit di­vorce bill or the EU could block a tran­si­tion deal with the coun­try.

“We want to reach an agree­ment [with the UK] within the next 14 work­ing days. To­day, we are not there. The ren­dezvous will be post­poned if progress is not suf­fi­cient,” he stated.

Bri­tain has said that Lon­don is will­ing to of­fer the other 27 EU mem­bers “fur­ther as­sur­ance” on its di­vorce be­fore the next sum­mit in De­cem­ber.

Bri­tain has also ex­pressed its will­ing­ness to pay up to 40 bil­lion eu­ros to the bloc as it wanted con­sid­er­able progress on set­tling Bri­tain’s li­a­bil­i­ties be­fore Brexit talks re­sumed.

But, Barnier has said that the two sides are stuck in a “dis­turb­ing dead­lock” over the di­vorce bill.

Bri­tain’s Brexit Sec­re­tary David Davis has said it is in the in­ter­ests of both sides “to work to find so­lu­tions.”

On Fri­day, Davis claimed good progress was be­ing made by ne­go­tia­tors, and that the talks had nar­rowed to a “few out­stand­ing, al­beit im­por­tant, is­sues.”

Barnier has said Bri­tain must in­crease its fi­nan­cial of­fer be­fore ne­go­tia­tors will move on to dis­cuss the fu­ture trad­ing re­la­tion­ship with the EU.

EU lead­ers have been in­creas­ingly frus­trated about di­vi­sions in Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s cab­i­net over Brexit, say­ing they were still un­sure what Bri­tain wanted, even af­ter five rounds of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The slow progress of Brexit talks has fu­eled fears that May’s govern­ment may col­lapse, or worse that Lon­don may fail to strike a with­drawal agree­ment with Brus­sels be­fore its for­mal exit from the EU on March 29, 2019, which could cause eco­nomic and trans­port tur­moil in Bri­tain and EU.

40 MPs ready to oust Theresa May

Mean­time, nearly 40 Con­ser­va­tive MPs ( Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment) have agreed to sign a let­ter of no con­fi­dence in Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May, ac­cord­ing to The Times.

A vote of no con­fi­dence means that May could be forced from of­fice and re­placed by an­other Con­ser­va­tive.

There is a need for eight more MPs to trig­ger a party lead­er­ship con­test. That is not un­likely as the num­ber of par­lia­ment mem­bers, who want to oust May, has in­creased in re­cent weeks.

One min­is­ter told the pa­per, “It’s a hor­ri­ble thing to say... but we are get­ting closer and closer to the point whereby we need some time in op­po­si­tion to re­group.”

Di­vided over how to pull Bri­tain out of the Euro­pean Union and hit by sev­eral sex scan­dals in­volv­ing min­is­ters, May’s govern­ment has been get­ting weaker in as­sert­ing con­trol over the coun­try’s chaotic po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion

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