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Theresa May’s cabinet is final block to a Brexit deal, EU governments warn

Theresa May’s cabinet is final block to a Brexit deal, EU governments warn

EU member states have warned that a Brexit deal hinges on settlement in Theresa May’s cabinet, as they gathered in Brussels on Monday to be up to date on the most recent information in talks.

Belgian overseas minister Didier Reynders instructed reporters exterior the council assembly the EU was “ready for brand spanking new information from London”, including: “We have time, however not a lot.”

France’s EU affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau echoed the sentiment, telling reporters on the way in which into the gathering: “The ball is within the British court docket. It is a query of a British political choice.” 

Downing Street final week mentioned the cabinet wanted extra time to come to an settlement regardless of a lengthy assembly final week. But an emergency session referred to as for at the moment to talk about the deal has been cancelled, suggesting a frequent UK authorities place is nonetheless a way off.

Asked about whether or not a deal could be struck, French minister Ms Loiseau added: “I’ve no crystal ball sadly. We are decided, we’re dedicated to discover a whole lot. We know that it is higher than a no-deal.”

Speaking on his manner into the identical assembly Germany’s EU affairs minister, Michael Roth warned that “the clock is ticking”. 

“The room for maneuver is very a lot restricted and our British pals know precisely the place our discussions are,” he mentioned.

The ball is within the British court docket. It is a query of a British political choice

Natalie Loiseau, French EU affairs minister

Austrian EU affairs minister, Gernot Bluemel instructed ready press there was “a sure dynamic within the negotiations, however it is too early to say how we’re going to proceed on that”. 

Austria holds the EU council’s rotating presidency and has been coordinating conferences between member states and the Europe Commission, which is main on negotiations. 

Though member states are commonly up to date on progress, they don’t seem to be current on the coal-face of talks with Britain and depend on the Commission for data.

Member states had been up to date by Commission chief negotiator in Monday’s assembly in regards to the present state of talks, with the prognosis understood to be that there was no breakthrough. 

In a assertion the Council presidency mentioned: “The Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, knowledgeable the EU27 ministers of the scenario following negotiations with the UK over the previous couple of weeks. 

“Michel Barnier defined that intense negotiating efforts proceed, however an settlement has not been reached but. Some key points stay beneath dialogue, particularly a answer to keep away from a exhausting border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

Both sides need a deal in November, with the unique October deadline having slipped. The EU has repeatedly mentioned December shall be too late to ratify the deal earlier than the UK is set to drop out of the bloc on 29 March 2019. 

Disagreements in negotiations are centred on the problem of Northern Ireland, and the way to stop a exhausting border from showing with the Republic after Brexit. Though officers are in a communications “tunnel” and dependable data is exhausting to come by, the EU seems to have agreed to British calls for to maintain the entire UK inside a non permanent customs union to assist stop a exhausting border. 

Natalie Loiseau, France’s EU affairs minister, on the doorstep of the assembly (EbS)

This UK demand was borne of an unwillingness to see simply Northern Ireland stored contained in the commerce settlement, an strategy the Northern Irish unionists who prop up Theresa May’s authorities have rejected outright as a breach of sovereignty.

But Brexiteers within the British cabinet are fearful that such a “non permanent” customs union would possibly grow to be everlasting if no different answer to the border is discovered. 

The UK has subsequently additionally requested for some sort of overview mechanism or time-limit to assuage the Tory ministers – a demand that is proving troublesome to sq. with the EU’s insistence that the backstop should stop a exhausting border in Northern Ireland regardless of the circumstances. The UK authorities additionally signed up to this dedication in writing in December and March.

EU officers additionally need the UK to join to a sequence of “degree playingfield” circumstances – corresponding to sustaining staff’ rights and environmental requirements – if they need to keep contained in the customs union, in order that EU companies can’t be undercut by laissez faire practices. These, too, are controversial within the Cabinet, as a result of some right-wing see Brexit as a possibility to strip out rules. 

It is unclear whether or not the proposed UK-wide backstop would even placate Northern Irish unionists, as it will be unlikely to remove all regulatory checks throughout the Irish sea, notable on animal merchandise. The DUP has mentioned they might not settle for such checks and vote towards any deal that included them.

Even if a deal is struck between negotiators it could possibly be voted down by MPs, with the House of Commons maths at the moment the matter of intense hypothesis in each Westminster and Brussels.


The Independent has launched its #FinalSay marketing campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition right here

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