Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

European Union raises pressure on United Kingdom, demands clarity ahead of Brexit talks


Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) leaves after hosting a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in central London on June 12, 2017, following the June 8 snap general election in which the ruling Conservatives lost their majority.

Her botched election gamble left the Conservatives without enough seats in parliament to secure a majority, weakening May's mandate to secure a "hard Brexit" even further.

Falling eight seats short of retaining its parliamentary majority, May's Conservative party is now in talks with the DUP - which won 10 seats - to forge an informal alliance.

The newspaper said one area of concern for the EU was whether those EU nationals living in Britain would be able to access the European Court of Justice, a "red line" for London.

Meanwhile, EU figures are also looking on with cynicism as May struggles to form an alliance with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists to strengthen her government.

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the party had told Mrs May "very directly" she was "in breach of the Good Friday agreement". However, the announcement of the deal was postponed on Wednesday because of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.


DUP leader Arlene Foster is due to meet May on Wednesday in order to thrash out the details of that deal, which will likely entail a series of concessions in exchange for DUP support in the Commons.

Nevertheless, it illustrated the challenge May will face in the remaining days before the European Union divorce talks begin: finding a position that satisfies both pro-European and eurosceptic factions of her party if she wants to remain in power. She looked at her watch and ignored a question from a reporter who asked: "What is your price?" For example, the DUP blocked same-sex marriage being implemented in Northern Ireland and has stood in the way of abortion rights being extended to women there.

Without a so-called confidence and supply deal with the DUP, her party risks losing the vote next week on the Queen's Speech.

Mrs Foster was nearly certain to ask for greater investment in Northern Ireland as part of the deal, though changes to security and legacy issues from the Troubles were unlikely to be included in a pact.

Sarah Wollaston MP told Sky News: "The reality of having a different arithmetic is that we are going to have a different kind of Brexit negotiation because at the end of it this will come back to Parliament, and Parliament will be voting on it, and that's the same for domestic legislation as well, there is going to have to be a much more consensual approach".

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"Will the United Kingdom government confirm its existing position on the single market and the customs union?" he asked.

But Ruth Davidson, the pro-EU leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, called on May to "reopen" the government's Brexit plans. When she did talk, she focused more on domestic policies, some of which were pretty controversial.

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"My understanding is that the DUP, like the Conservative Party, has a shared interest in making sure we have a stable government", he told BBC radio.

Mr Verhofstadt urged the European Union to bring forward legislative proposals for closer integration of the remaining 27 member states, to take advantage of the opportunity provided by Brexit and the election of the pro-European Mr Macron.

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Yesterday the Evening Standard - whose editor George Osborne was dropped as Chancellor of the Exchequer by May previous year - reported that a group of "sensible" Tory MPs were meeting with their Labour counterparts to ensure a soft Brexit in the upcoming negotiations with the EU.

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