Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

No big progress on Brexit since March - EU's Barnier

No big progress on Brexit since March - EU's Barnier

Less than a year ahead of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, or Brexit day in March 2019, the EU's top negotiator Michel Barnier has revealed that there has been "little, or very little" progress in talks about the conditions for the United Kingdom to leave.

Diplomats and officials in Brussels have raised doubts about whether the bloc and London will be able to mark a milestone in the negotiations at the summit of European Union leaders on June 28-29.

Barnier said the "two key points where there is a risk of failure" is the Irish issue, and the governance of any future Brexit deal, which Britain says must be out of the hands of the EU's top court.

The deal could include regular British-EU foreign policy talks, cooperation on military and aid missions, cooperation on defence projects and intelligence sharing, Barnier said.

About it reports Reuters with a reference to the statement by the German Minister for European Affairs Michael Roth announced in Brussels on Monday, may 14.

"If Brussels or Dublin insist upon rejecting all the practical approaches that we propose it is, with regret, that we will have to graciously accept their rejection", he added.

The EU is pressing for "substantive progress" from Britain on the future of the border in Ireland in time for a crunch European Council summit just six weeks away.

Under a customs partnership, Britain could collect tariffs on the EU's behalf.

"Nobody must have to underestimate the key rendezvous of June", he added, when the EU's 27 remaining leaders and British Prime Minister Theresa May will have their two-day summit.

While both sides want to continue close cooperation on internal security and foreign policy after Brexit, even this area, previously seen as an easy part of the unprecedented divorce negotiations, has seen a series of recent hiccups.

But it has proven difficult to reconcile Britain's conundrum: its commitment to avoid a so-called hard border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland without entering into a customs union with the rest of the union post-Brexit. "I very much hope we will agree but there are no guarantees, unfortunately".

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