Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

EU Pressing UK to Speed Up Brexit Negotiations

EU Pressing UK to Speed Up Brexit Negotiations

The UK will come to regret its decision to leave the European Union, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said.

Jean-Claude Juncker was speaking during a debate on Brexit in the European Parliament this morning ahead of a vote on future UK EU relations tomorrow.

In the EU's draft withdrawal agreement, published in February, the three options for avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic were: a comprehensive trade deal; a bespoke, most likely technological solution; or "full regulatory alignment" between the two territories.

Britain's government has said it does not want a customs union with the EU, without which the EU says it would need to regulate Northern Ireland's trade to avoid a return of customs checks.

'If you decide to jettison, leave behind, the common agreements and rules, then you have to accept that things can not remain as they are'.

This is especially important when it comes to Ireland.

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"We will keep making this point in the run-up to the European Council next week", Juncker told the European Parliament."We are expecting more clarity on the American side in the coming days and will continue to work with our partners to push for an exemption".

He also defended an European Union proposal for the bloc to continue to regulate trade in the British province of Northern Ireland after Brexit, should no other ways emerge to avoid a hard border between that territory and the country of Ireland.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, said he was "surprised" that the prime minister had expected it to accept her demands in the Mansion House speech.

Theresa May has been accused of saying little more than empty words in Brexit negotiations - as European Union chiefs said Britain would live to regret leaving the EU.

"It is time to face up to the hard facts", he added.

He said: "There was this Mansion House speech by Mrs May, but it was mainly repeating the red lines that we know already".

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As well as differences over what access the United Kingdom should expect to the single market after Brexit, the ongoing uncertainty over the Irish border question looms large.

The European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, meanwhile, called for the United Kingdom to move beyond "slogans" and "soundbites".

The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said talks he held with May and her Brexit minister David Davis last week had left him confident London would "see the advantages of such an approach".

The former Ukip leader later urged Theresa May to stand up to the "EU bullies", before making the outlandish claim that Britain could seal a trade deal with Donald Trump in 48.

"Ms May, we did not vote for a transition period, we voted to leave this organisation, we voted to leave the customs union, we voted to leave the single market", he said.

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