Brexit talks stall over di­vorce bill

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

pe­riod sug­gested by May, say­ing the di­vorce must be sorted out first.

The tough line taken by Europe on Brexit was re­stated by French Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bruno Le Maire, who said in Wash­ing­ton Thurs­day that the “British peo­ple and British gov­ern­ment have to as­sume the con­se­quences of their de­ci­sion” to leave. But May later said the two sides were “very close to agree­ment” on a num­ber of is­sues in­clud­ing cit­i­zens’ rights and wel­comed Barnier’s recog­ni­tion that progress could be made in the coming weeks.

British For­eign Min­is­ter Boris John­son told the EU to step up the pace. “We’re look­ing for some ur­gency from our friends and part­ners, and it’s time to put a bit of a tiger in the tank and get this thing done,” he said.

Davis, a key fig­ure in the Leave cam­paign in last year’s Brexit ref­er­en­dum, said he still hoped EU lead­ers could de­cide to shift to the next phase when they meet next week.

If that was not pos­si­ble, he called on the EU to give Barnier a man­date next week to “ex­plore ways forward” even if the next phase is not for­mally opened.

Deal or no deal?

In re­sponse, a draft sum­mit state­ment by the EU lead­ers said they would re­assess progress in De­cem­ber and if the ver­dict is pos­i­tive they will is­sue guide­lines for trade talks plus a tran­si­tion. “In or­der to be fully ready for such a sce­nario, the Euro­pean Coun­cil in­vites (min­is­ters) to­gether with the Union ne­go­tia­tor to start in­ter­nal prepara­tory dis­cus­sion,” said the draft ob­tained by AFP.

The con­ces­sion, how­ever slight, comes amid grow­ing con­cerns that Bri­tain could leave with­out a deal, which could cause huge eco­nomic dis­rup­tion on both sides of the English Chan­nel.

Barnier warned that “a ‘no deal’ will be a very bad deal” af­ter May ad­mit­ted this week that her gov­ern­ment was set­ting aside money for a so-called hard Brexit.

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