Posts Tagged ‘Michel Barnier’

Brexit talks will remain deadlocked unless Theresa May stands up to Boris Johnson, says key Merkel ally

October 17, 2017

‘Whatever she is offering, Boris Johnson is saying it’s too much’

By Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor

The Independent

boris-johnson-8.jpg

Boris Johnson is the obstacle to breaking the Brexit deadlock – in German eyes Getty

A key ally of Angela Merkel has warned the Brexit talks will remain deadlocked unless Theresa May is brave enough to stand up to Boris Johnson.

Michael Fuchs, the vice chairman of the German Chancellor’s party, blamed the Foreign Secretary for the impasse – because he was preventing the Prime Minister from making a proper financial offer.

“Theresa May has to come up with decent proposals,” Dr Fuchs said. “Whatever she is offering, Boris Johnson is saying it’s too much,”

Theresa May asked if Boris Johnson is unsackable

Arguing his influence was “pretty strong”, Dr Fuchs added: “Otherwise she would come up with other proposals. The problem is she has internal trouble in the Tories.”

He stopped short of suggesting Mr Johnson should be sacked, but added: “What he said was not a single cent to the EU – and that’s not, of course, acceptable.”

The comments, from such a powerful figure in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), offer fresh evidence that Ms Merkel is now Britain’s toughest opponent in the negotiations.

Senior figures in Brussels were mystified that Ms May’s last-gasp dash to try to revive the talks was to join a dinner with the European Commission chief and his negotiator.

In fact, only if Ms Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron budge, can the talks progress onto a future trading arrangement – and there is no sign they will.

Last night, a 90-minute dinner in the Belgian capital with Jean-Claude Juncker, and Michel Barnier, from the Commission, failed to achieve any breakthrough.

It produced only a bland statement, saying both sides “reviewed the progress made in the article 50 negotiations so far and agreed that these efforts should accelerate over the months to come”.

Downing Street stressed the Prime Minister had gone no further than her offer to plug any hole in the EU’s budget if it agrees a transition period, after Brexit Day in 2019, of “about two years”.

But this would cover only Britain’s “subs”, of about £9bn a year – without addressing liabilities, such as for EU programmes and pension costs.

Meanwhile, the latest leak of a draft statement from EU leaders, ahead of a crucial summit on Friday, toughened the language against the British position.

Following pressure from France and Germany, it demanded progress on all three “divorce issues” – including EU citizens’ rights and the Irish border – as well as money.

The carrot is that the EU will give Mr Barnier, the chief negotiator, a mandate to open talks on trade in December, if “sufficient progress” is made by then.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Dr Fuchs insisted Germany did not want a hard Brexit – and, in fact, regretted Britain leaving the EU more than any other country

But he added: “If you choose this way, it’s going to be like this. It’s going to be very tough for your country I think. I’m pretty sure we have to find a better solution.”

No 10 was pleased that the Commission had agreed the talks “should accelerate” and an agreement that dinner “took place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere”.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-talks-theresa-may-boris-johnson-angela-merkel-eu-germany-michael-fuchs-cdu-a8004366.html

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Theresa May and EU President Jean-Claude Juncker want to ‘accelerate’ Brexit talks

October 17, 2017

Brexit talks are still deadlocked ahead of a crucial European Council summit

By Jon Stone Brussels
The Independent

Theresa May and EU President Jean-Claude Juncker have agreed that efforts to reach a deal in Brexit talks should “accelerate” over the coming months.

The Prime Minister and Commission chief made the announcement following a working dinner in Brussels ahead of a crunch European Council summit.

No details were available on what specific measures might be introduced to speed up the negotiations, which have so far happened face-to-face on four days every month.

Despite the limited face-time, the latest round of negotiations was still dogged by “deadlock”, according to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier. There were no formal talks about the UK’s divorce bill during the week because of a lack of agreement, while no full negotiations were scheduled for Wednesday, reducing the length of discussions of other matters to three days.

There are currently no further talks scheduled between the two sides, though future dates are expected to be announced after the European Council summit later this week.

At the Council meeting, the other EU states will decide whether the UK has made “sufficient progress” to move to trade talks, which the EU says can only take place after “separation issues” like the divorce bill, citizens’ rights, and the Northern Ireland border are settled.

Officials believe it is unlikely that “sufficient progress” will be deemed by the council, after the European Parliament and European Commission both recommended against it.

If sufficient progress is not agreed at the October meeting of the European Council, the next opportunity will be at the December meeting of the body.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said: “The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission had a broad, constructive exchange on current European and global challenges.

“They discussed their common interest in preserving the Iran nuclear deal and their work on strengthening the security of citizens in Europe, notably on the fight against terrorism. They also prepared for the European Council that will take place later this week.

“As regards the Article 50 negotiations, both sides agreed that these issues are being discussed in the framework agreed between the EU27 and the United Kingdom, as set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

“The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission reviewed the progress made in the Article 50 negotiations so far and agreed that these efforts should accelerateover the months to come. The working dinner took place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-talks-theresa-may-jean-claude-juncker-brussels-dinner-accelerate-a8003866.html

May Hopes Brussels Dinner Will Woo EU Officials on Brexit

October 16, 2017

Move comes after EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said progress was insufficient for talks to move to the next phase

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves to 10 Downing Street with the Secretary of State for departing the EU David Davis on Monday.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves to 10 Downing Street with the Secretary of State for departing the EU David Davis on Monday. PHOTO: MARY TURNER/REUTERS

BRUSSELS—British Prime Minister Theresa May is traveling to Brussels on Monday as she tries to revive Brexit talks ahead of a summit of European Union leaders later this week.

In an unusual move, Mrs. May travelled with Brexit Secretary David Davis to have dinner with the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and the bloc’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier. This is the first time Mrs. May is holding such meeting since Brexit talks began in June.

A fifth round of talks ended last week with Mr. Barnier saying that progress is still insufficient for talks to move to the next phase. The EU has said it first wants to settle the divorce—meaning Britain’s exit bill, the rights of EU citizens living in the U.K. and the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland—before it will agree to talk about its future relationship with the U.K.

Mrs. May believes that her speech in Florence last month should have given enough guarantees to allow talks to move on to the issue of the U.K.’s future relationship with the bloc. In the speech, Mrs. May promised that the U.K. would honor the financial obligations it has undertaken as an EU member.

“We think in the UK that its time to get on with these negotiations…and start some serious conversation about the deep and special partnership we hope to construct,” said British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was meeting his EU counterparts in Luxembourg on Monday.

But the EU, with the support of France and Germany, is adamant that more details are required on what London is willing to pay as part of the divorce settlement before there can be any talk about the future relationship.

A spokesmen for Mrs. May said Iran’s nuclear deal would also be on the agenda following U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to certify the agreement.

“They’ll be talking about a range of issues of importance to the EU ahead of the council,” said James Slack, Mrs. May’s spokesman. He said she will speak with French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar later Monday, after having spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel  on Sunday.

On Brexit, the spokesman said talks are advancing and that Mrs. May wants to keep negotiations moving in a constructive manner.

“We are heading in the right direction and we want to make progress in a number of areas,” Mr. Slack said.

Mr. Juncker said on Monday that he would meet Mrs. May, talk with her and “give a postmortem report” after the dinner.

Write to Valentina Pop at valentina.pop@wsj.com

UK leader makes surprise Brussels trip to undo Brexit logjam

October 16, 2017

OCTOBER 16, 2017 10:30 AM

Jean-Claude Juncker Promises an “Autopsy Report” After Meeting Theresa May To Discuss Brexit Monday Evening

October 16, 2017

Jean-Claude Juncker has said that there will be an “autopsy report” after his dinner with Theresa May tonight as the Prime Minister seeks to break the deadlock over Brexit negotiations

Mrs May has embarked on a diplomatic offensive ahead of a crucial meeting with European leaders later this week. She is speaking to Emmanual Macron, the French President, and Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, before flying to Brussels this evening for dinner with Mr Juncker, the President of the European Commission.

Asked about the meeting, Mr Juncker said: “I never understood why journalists even the most eminent journalists ask for an outcome of a meeting before the meeting takes place. I will see Mrs May this evening, we will talk and you will have the autopsy report afterwards. ”

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/16/theresa-may-embarks-diplomatic-blitz-boris-johnson-tells-eu/

Related:

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Theresa May to appeal to Macron over Brexit transition period

Prime minister to phone French leader in hope of broadening negotiations to include talks on interim phase before leaving EU

Emmanuel Macron receives Theresa May at the Élysée Palace earlier this year.
 Emmanuel Macron receives Theresa May at the Élysée Palace earlier this year. Photograph: Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

Theresa May is to appeal to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to widen the Brexit negotiations to discuss a transition period, in the latest move amid a high-stakes flurry of diplomatic activity.

May is due to phone the Élysée Palace on Monday afternoon, it is understood, as the prime minister seeks to convince European leaders that talks on a transition phase should be approved at a European council summit on Friday. She will also call the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, before departing for Brussels for an early dinner with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Downing Street’s efforts are unlikely to be rewarded, however, unless May is willing to offer concrete guidance on how many of the UK’s financial commitments to the EU budget she is prepared to honour.

The EU leaders have concluded that insufficient progress has been made in the first phase of talks to open negotiations on the future trading relationship or discuss a transition period, a judgment they will formally deliver at the summit later this week.

The mood music ahead of the dinner with Juncker, to which the commission president’s chief of staff, Martin Selmayr, and May’s Brexit adviser, Olly Robbins, have also been invited, was soured earlier on Monday when the commission president gave a hint of his feelings about the forthcoming event. “I’m going to see Mrs May tonight. And, yes, you will have a postmortem report,” he told reporters.

It is understood that May will spend only 90 minutes in Brussels before returning to London. The last meal between the two leaders, in Downing Street, was heavily leaked to the newspapers, with Juncker allegedly describing the prime minister as “deluded”.

A senior EU source all but dismissed the prime minister’s hopes of pushing transition talks, claiming that European leaders had overruled Barnier when he suggested opening talks on a transition phase, and were in no mood to offer May any succour. “The problem is not in the commission so you will not find the solution in the commission,” he said.

The source said European capitals were insistent that phase one of the negotiations, taking in citizens rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border, needed to be settled first.

“What the British have in mind is some sort of stage one and a half. Not sufficient progress but you can start talks on negotiations on the transition,” the source said. “That is not going to happen because I think in the capitals they are very much in touch with this idea that we have a staged approached. We were very specific when it came to the guidelines what we meant by the first phase.”

The source said May was doing her best to get the best possible outcome from the EU27 meeting on Friday. The best the UK could hope for, however, was for the group to offer to scope out among themselves how a transition period would work, in the hope that Britain would have delivered concrete proposals on the financial settlement by the next European council summit in December.

In her speech in Florence, May had announced that the UK would “honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership”, without spelling out what those commitments were.

“Until the speech in Florence, the feeling in the capitals was that it was going nowhere and the no-deal scenario was the most likely one’, the source acknowledged. “Since florence Theresa May did manage to change this assumption. The message from Florence was: ‘I mean business, the UK is in the negotiating business,’ which was not so clear before.”

The source added, however, that without additional firm commitments on the financial settlement, there would be limited reward for May’s efforts.

“I have to admit they [the British] are not happy with the conclusions,” the EU official said. “They would like to go further but that will be the landing zone with the current input.”

See more:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/oct/16/thereas-may-to-appeal-to-emmanuel-macron-over-brexit-transition-period

Brexit “Shambles” — Theresa May To Brussels for Emergency Meeting

October 16, 2017

BBC News

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker
The PM will meet with Jean-Claude Juncker, pictured, as well as Michel Barnier. Reuters photo

Theresa May is to travel to Brussels later for a dinner with EU leaders in a bid to end a stalemate over Brexit.

The meeting, with chief negotiator Michel Barnier and Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, comes days after the pair said talks were in “deadlock”.

Brexit Secretary David Davis will join Mrs May for the meeting, ahead of this week’s summit of EU leaders.

On Sunday, the PM phoned German chancellor Angela Merkel in a further attempt to break the impasse.

Downing Street said Mrs May and Mrs Merkel agreed on the “importance of continued constructive progress” in the UK’s exit negotiations in the early morning phone call.

Although Mrs May’s trip was not made public during last week’s negotiations, Downing Street sources insisted it had “been in the diary for weeks”.

‘Disturbing’

Over dinner, the PM hopes to end a stalemate over the settlement that is stopping the post-Brexit trading relationship being discussed.

She hopes when EU leaders meet on Thursday and Friday, they will give Mr Barnier a mandate to start trade talks.

But Mr Barnier said he would not recommend that talks move on to the next stage when he attends the European Council on Thursday.

Michel Barnier: ‘We’ve reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing’

Speaking after the fifth round of trade talks in Brussels, he said there was no agreement on how much the UK should pay the EU when it leaves.

He said: “On this question we have reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters in Europe and it’s disturbing also for taxpayers.”

Mr Juncker added that the Brexit process would take “longer than we initially thought”, blaming delays on the UK’s failure to settle its financial obligations.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-41631711

See also:

Britain’s missing billions: Revised figures reveal UK is £490bn poorer than previously thought

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/15/britains-missing-billions-revised-figures-reveal-uk-490bn-poorer/

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Philip Hammond’s ‘tax on age’ plan to save his job: take from old workers and give to the young

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/15/philip-hammond-mulling-new-age-tax-raid-older-workers-budget/

Deadlock over UK’s Brexit bill, says EU’s Michel Barnier

October 14, 2017

BBC News

Image result for Michel Barnier, october 13, 2017, photosMichel Barnier: ‘We’ve reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing’

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier says there has not been enough progress to move to the next stage of Brexit talks as the UK wants.

He said there was “new momentum” in the process but there was still “deadlock” over how much the UK pays when it leaves, which he called “disturbing”.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said he still hoped for the go-ahead for trade talks when EU leaders meet next week.

The pair were speaking after the fifth round of Brexit talks in Brussels.

Mr Barnier said: “I am not able in the current circumstances to propose next week to the European Council that we should start discussions on the future relationship.”

The UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis urged EU leaders at the summit, on 19 and 20 October, to give Mr Barnier a mandate to start trade talks and to “build on the spirit of co-operation we now have”.

He said there had been progress on the area of citizens’ rights that had moved the two sides “even closer to a deal”.

The EU chief negotiator told reporters at the joint press conference he hoped for “decisive progress” by the time of the December summit of the European Council.

He said Theresa May’s announcement that Britain would honour financial commitments entered into as an EU member was “important”.

But he said there had been no negotiations on the issue this week because the UK was not ready to spell out what it would pay.

“On this question we have reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters in Europe and it’s disturbing also for taxpayers.”


Not doomed yet

David Davis and Michel BarnierREUTERS

Analysis by BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg

Not even Brexit’s biggest cheerleader could claim the discussions in Brussels have been going well. And there are visible frustrations on both sides.

But before claiming this morning’s drama means the whole thing is doomed there are a few things worth remembering.

At the very start of this whole process, the hope was that in October, the EU would agree to move on to the next phase of the talks, to talk about our future relationship. But for months it has been clear that the chances of that were essentially zero.

It is not, therefore, a surprise to hear Mr Barnier saying right now, he doesn’t feel able to press the button on phase 2, however much he enjoyed the drama of saying so today.

Second, behind the scenes, although it has been slow, there has been some progress in the talks but officials in some areas have reached the end of the line until their political masters give them permission to move on.

Read Laura’s full blog


The so-called divorce bill covers things like the pensions of former EU staff in the UK, the cost of relocating EU agencies based in the UK and outstanding commitments to EU programmes. The UK has said it will meet its legal requirements and there has been speculation the bill could be anywhere between £50bn and £100bn, spread over a number of years.

BBC Europe Correspondent Kevin Connolly said the UK sees its total financial commitment “as its best negotiating card to be played somewhere near the end of the talks – the EU wants that card to be shown now at a point which is still relatively early in a two-year game”.

Boris Johnson: Time to put ‘tiger in tank’ on Brexit talks

The UK has also offered to keep paying into the EU budget during a proposed two-year transition period.

The EU had two other issues on which it would not make any “concessions”, said Mr Barnier – citizens’ rights and the Northern Ireland border.

On the status of the border, Mr Barnier said negotiations had “advanced” during this week’s discussions.

But he said there was “more work to do in order to build a full picture of the challenges to North-South co-operation resulting from the UK – and therefore Northern Ireland – leaving the EU legal framework”.

Asked about speculation that the UK could exit the EU in March 2019 without a trade deal, Mr Barnier said the EU was ready for “any eventualities” but added: “No deal will be a very bad deal.”

Mr Davis said: “It’s not what we seek, we want to see a good deal, but we are planning for everything.”

Both men said progress had been made on citizens’ rights, with Mr Davis saying there would be an agreement “soon” to ensure EU nationals in the UK would be able to enforce their rights through the UK courts.

He said EU citizens would still have to register with the UK authorities but the process would be streamlined to make it as simple and cheap as possible.

According to Mr Davis, the remaining sticking points include:

  • The right to bring in future family members
  • The right to “export a range of benefits”
  • To “continue to enjoy the recognition of professional qualifications”
  • To vote in local elections
  • To “leave for a prolonged period and yet continue to enjoy a right to remain or permanent right of residence on return”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I think it’s quite shocking. We’re now 15 months on since the referendum and the government seems to have reached deadlock at every stage.”

He said “falling out” of the EU without a trade deal would threaten “a lot of jobs all across Britain”.

Labour is calling for “emergency” talks between Mr Davis and the EU early next week, to try to break the deadlock ahead of the EU summit.

Earlier this week, European Council President Donald Tusk suggested that the green light to begin talks about a post-Brexit trade deal would not come until December at the earliest.

Meanwhile, draft conclusions for next week’s summit of EU leaders – which could yet change – call for internal work to begin on possible transitional arrangements and trade talks with the UK.

That would mean they could move ahead with negotiations on a future relationship, if “sufficient progress has been achieved” in talks.

But the draft conclusions seen by the BBC, if adopted, suggest EU leaders are not yet ready to begin talks with the UK about a post-Brexit transition deal.

Last month Prime Minister Theresa May used a speech in Florence to set out proposals for a two-year transition period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, in a bid to ease the deadlock.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-41585430

EU’s Juncker says the British ‘have to pay’

October 13, 2017
© AFP | EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, October 3, 2017

LUXEMBOURG (AFP) – EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday that Britain must “pay” for its financial commitments to start Brexit trade talks, comparing it to someone trying to leave a bar after a round of beers.

Juncker’s comments come a day after EU negotiator Michel Barnier said there was a “disturbing deadlock” over the bill, and not enough progress for leaders to agree at a summit next week to open talks on future relations.

“The British are discovering, as we are, day after day new problems. That’s why this process will take longer than initially thought,” Juncker said in a speech at a university in his native Luxembourg.

“If you are sitting in a bar and if you are ordering 28 beers and then suddenly some of your colleagues is leaving… that’s not feasible, they have to pay, they have to pay,” Juncker said.

“Not in an impossible way, I am not in a revenge mood, I am not hitting the British. The Europeans have to be grateful for so many things Britain has brought to Europe, during war, after war, before war, everywhere and every time.

“But now they have to pay.”

The former Luxembourg prime minister added that a row over the rights of three million EU citizens living in Britain was “nonsense”.

“I don’t even understand this problem. Why not say easily, with common sense, which is not a political category as we know, that things will stay as they are?” Juncker said.

The EU says Britain has to make sufficient progress on three divorce issues — the bill, the rights of EU citizens in Britain, and Northern Ireland — before opening the trade negotiations London wants.

EU sources have put the budgetary commitments it says Britain owes at around 100 billion euros ($118 billion), while Britain says the true figure is about one-fifth of that.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels next week are expected to say that there is not likely to be enough progress until the next summit in December, but that the bloc should begin internal preparations for trade talks now.

Theresa May caught in Brexit trap after EU leaders block future trade talks

October 13, 2017

By Jon StoneRob Merrick
The Independent

EU leaders rule Britain must pay up to move the negotiations on – but the Prime Minister’s MPs tell her ‘no more concessions’

theresa-may-walk.jpg

Theresa May has been caught in a Brexit trap after EU leaders ruled Britain must pay up to secure future trade talks, while her own MPs demanded she make no more concessions.

The heads of the EU states agreed the UK had not made “sufficient progress” on the withdrawal divorce terms, according to a leaked statement drafted by Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, just hours after confirmation that the talks are deadlocked.

They backed the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, after he said negotiations over future trade with Britain would be blocked until Ms May gave ground on paying the UK’s Brexit “divorce” bill and guaranteeing citizens’ rights.

But Conservative Brexiteers demanded the Prime Minister refuse to “feed the monster” and called on her to walk away from the negotiating table if the EU did not start talking trade.

The leak appeared to make clear that, at a key meeting of the European Council next week, EU leaders will confirm Mr Barnier’s refusal to consider trade talks now as the official stance of all member states.

Ministers in the UK have been trying to play down the significance of the blow, but pressure is building on Ms May to ensure talks progress with the time for Brexit negotiations running out before the country crashes out of the union without a deal.

Mr Barnier used a press conference to say talks had strayed into a “disturbing” deadlock and could not move on without more ground being given by UK negotiators on the EU’s priorities.

Afterwards, Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament told The Independent Ms May should “deal with those” on the British side who were seeking to “unrealistically raise expectations”.

“The current situation shows that the European Parliament was correct to express its concerns over Brexit negotiations earlier this month and Mr Barnier’s position is understandable,” he said.

“The deadlock unfortunately means continuing uncertainty for millions of citizens both in the UK and EU27, as well as an emotionally-charged situation in Northern Ireland that must imperatively be resolved before moving forward. The European Parliament has been unambiguous on these matters.

“I believe that the Prime Minister is genuine in her efforts to come to an agreement with the EU27 and realises that time is of the essence, but she must also deal with those who continue to challenge the agreed sequencing and unrealistically raise expectations.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit chief, also backed Mr Barnier’s statement that there would be “no concessions”.

“The European Parliament is fully behind Barnier,” Mr Verhofstadt said. “There’s no sufficient progress, it’s high time the UK government comes up with concrete proposals.”

Manfred Weber, a German ally of Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU party and the leader of the parliament’s largest group, also indicated his support – undermining Brexiteers’ hopes that the re-elected German Chancellor might push for a softer line for the UK at the forthcoming Council meeting.

In London, former Conservative Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan said there was a growing “sense of panic” among business leaders as the talks flirted with failure.

“Employers are putting in place contingency arrangements and they will have to start pressing go sooner or later,” she told The Independent.

She again criticised Boris Johnson’s recent setting out of Brexit red lines, saying: “Any mixed messages about our commitment to what was said by the Prime Minister in Florence can only be unhelpful in the negotiations.”

But while Brussels refused to allow Ms May to move talks forward without further compromise, Brexit-backing Tories in London were adamant that she not give way, but play hardball.

John Redwood said: “The Government should press on with preparing to leave without a deal. In due course the EU will then probably tell us they do want tariff free trade and will then be prepared to talk about it.”

Iain Duncan Smith said Britain should be ready to walk away from the negotiating table if the EU was still refusing to break the deadlock at the end of the year.

“It will then become very apparent that the EU is not going to do so, and we will need to say that we will make other arrangements.”

Andrew Bridgen told The Independent he backed a plan to walk away from negotiations unless the EU begins to talk trade by Christmas.

He said: “You don’t feed the monster. There is no point in continuing to make concessions until they are ready to seriously negotiate.

“There negotiating position is not to give us anything, and saying there will be no progress unless we offer more. We should say we are going to go away and better use our time preparing for a ‘no deal’ situation.”

According to the leak, obtained by Reuters, the EU leaders will tell Britain to improve its offer – while offering the prospect of a rapid move to free-trade talks in December if that happens.

The draft suggests immediate internal work on possible transitional arrangements, in order to be able to move ahead with negotiations on a future relationship as soon as possible.

“At its next session in December, the European Council will reassess the state of progress in the negotiations with a view to determining whether sufficient progress has been achieved,” the draft said.

Preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit were at the heart of another major Brexit split in the cabinet this week – triggering a call for the Prime Minister to sack her Chancellor.

Philip Hammond warned diverting funds would mean less money for the NHS and social care – insisting he would not sanction it until the “very last moment”, if the need became clear.

But Ms May vowed to spend taxpayers’ cash immediately, telling MPs on Wednesday: “We are committing money to prepare for Brexit, including a no deal scenario.”

Ministers will be allowed to spend the cash before they’ve been given normal parliamentary approval, by issuing a “technical direction” the Treasury revealed.

Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor, called for Mr Hammond to be sacked, saying: “He may not intend it, but in practice what he is doing is very close to sabotage.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman was forced to confirm she still had “full confidence” in the Chancellor .

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-latest-theresa-may-donald-tusk-eu-leaders-divorce-bill-trade-talks-no-progress-a7997641.html

Brexit Talks Deadlocked as Both Sides Prepare for Cliff Edge

October 12, 2017

Bloomberg

By Ian Wishart and Tim Ross

 
  • Barnier says there were no negotiations about the bill
  • EU puts onus on U.K. to find ‘political will’ to reach a deal
David Davis and Michel Barnier
Barnier Says Brexit Talks Have Reached ‘Deadlock’

Follow @Brexit for all the latest news, and sign up to our daily Brexit Bulletin newsletter.

The European Union said talks hit an impasse over what the U.K. owes when it leaves, increasing the chances of a messy departure as time is running out to clinch a deal.

The pound fell to the weakest in a month after chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said there had been no discussions over the all-important bill that the U.K. has to agree it will pay before the EU will start trade talks.

Read more about Brexit’s costs and whether Britain will pay up

Barnier put the onus firmly on the U.K.’s squabbling government to find the political will to move the talks forward, while both sides raised the prospect of talks breaking down without an agreement — throwing businesses into a chaotic legal limbo.

“No deal will be a very bad deal, huh? And to be clear on our side we will be ready to face any eventualities and all eventualities,” Barnier, told reporters in Brussels on Thursday. After his words, the pound traded down by as much as 0.6 percent against the euro.

On the question of the financial settlement — the most intractable of the three pressing issues — Barnier said: “We have reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters in Europe and it’s disturbing also for taxpayers.”

Barnier noted that Prime Minister Theresa May had pledged in her speech in Florence last month that the U.K. would continue to pay into the EU budget for two years after the split.

He signaled disappointment that this wasn’t followed up in the negotiations this week. But in return for those payments, May wants a two-year transition period to ease the anxiety for businesses.

Different Interpretation

But the U.K. understood his words as an elegant cry for help from the Frenchman to the 27 European leaders, according to a person familiar with the U.K. team’s negotiating position: a plea to them to loosen up his mandate so he can start talking about the future alongside the divorce terms.

If true, between now and the summit a week away, signs of movement may come from the rest of the European capitals. May’s government believes the ball is still in the EU’s court — and it is now for the other leaders to decide if they want to unlock the talks.

Barnier held out hope that progress could be made at a summit in December, if the U.K. fleshes out more what May alluded to in Florence less than a month ago. That will be hard in a Conservative government constantly at war with itself on the direction of Brexit — her own chancellor was mauled by euro-skeptics for his reluctance to plow money into non-deal contingency plans.

December Target

Starting trade talks in December leaves less than a year to get a deal on trade and the transition. Some businesses won’t wait around to see the outcome, with banks the first taking steps to go. Crashing out of the bloc would wreak havoc on the economy, affecting flights, financial markets and pharmaceuticals and slapping tariffs on all foreign trade.

The U.K. is still butting against the EU’s timetable, saying it can’t sort the divorce issues, such as the U.K.’s new EU land border that will bisect the island of Ireland — until trade talks are under way.

With talks showing increasing brinkmanship, Brexit Secretary David Davis said: “I make no secret of the fact that to provide certainty, we must talk about the future.”

The focus now turns to the summit next week of the EU’s 27 leaders. Initially trade talks were expected to start at that meeting, now the U.K. can hope for little more than encouraging words — or chinks in the EU’s armor.

— With assistance by Richard Bravo, Nikos Chrysoloras, Viktoria Dendrinou, and Jones Hayden

Includes video:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-12/barnier-chides-talks-deadlock-as-cliff-edge-brexit-inches-closer

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BBC News

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier says there has not been enough progress to move to the next stage of Brexit talks as the UK wants.

He said there was “new momentum” in the process but there was still “deadlock” over how much the UK pays when it leaves, which he called “disturbing”.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said he still hoped for the go-ahead for trade talks when EU leaders meet next week.

The pair were speaking after the fifth round of Brexit talks in Brussels.

Mr Barnier said: “I am not able in the current circumstances to propose next week to the European Council that we should start discussions on the future relationship.”

The UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis urged EU leaders at the summit, on 19 and 20 October, to give Mr Barnier a mandate to start trade talks and to “build on the spirit of cooperation we now have”.

He said there had been progress on the area of citizens’ rights that had moved the two sides “even closer to a deal”.

The EU chief negotiator told reporters at the joint press conference he hoped for “decisive progress” by the time of the December summit of the European Council.

He said Theresa May’s announcement that Britain would honour financial commitments entered into as an EU member was “important”.

But he said there had been no negotiations on the issue this week because the UK was not ready to spell out what it would pay.

“On this question we have reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters in Europe and it’s disturbing also for taxpayers.”


Not doomed yet

Analysis by BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg

Not even Brexit’s biggest cheerleader could claim the discussions in Brussels have been going well. And there are visible frustrations on both sides.

But before claiming this morning’s drama means the whole thing is doomed there are a few things worth remembering.

At the very start of this whole process, the hope was that in October, the EU would agree to move on to the next phase of the talks, to talk about our future relationship. But for months it has been clear that the chances of that were essentially zero.

It is not, therefore, a surprise to hear Mr Barnier saying right now, he doesn’t feel able to press the button on phase 2, however much he enjoyed the drama of saying so today.

Second, behind the scenes, although it has been slow, there has been some progress in the talks but officials in some areas have reached the end of the line until their political masters give them permission to move on.

Read Laura’s full blog


The so-called divorce bill covers things like the pensions of former EU staff in the UK, the cost of relocating EU agencies based in the UK and outstanding commitments to EU programmes. The UK has said it will meet its legal requirements and there has been speculation the bill could be anywhere between £50bn and £100bn, spread over a number of years.

BBC Europe Correspondent Kevin Connolly said the UK sees its total financial commitment “as its best negotiating card to be played somewhere near the end of the talks – the EU wants that card to be shown now at a point which is still relatively early in a two-year game”.

Boris Johnson: Time to put ‘tiger in tank’ on Brexit talks

Media captionBoris Johnson: Time to put ‘tiger in tank’ on Brexit talks

The UK has also offered to keep paying into the EU budget during a proposed two-year transition period.

The EU had two other issues on which it would not make any “concessions”, said Mr Barnier – citizens’ rights and the Northern Ireland border.

On the status of the border, Mr Barnier said negotiations had “advanced” during this week’s discussions.

But he said there was “more work to do in order to build a full picture of the challenges to North-South co-operation resulting from the UK – and therefore Northern Ireland – leaving the EU legal framework”.

Asked about speculation that the UK could exit the EU in March 2019 without a trade deal, Mr Barnier said the EU was ready for “any eventualities” but added: “No deal will be a very bad deal.”

Mr Davis said: “It’s not what we seek, we want to see a good deal, but we are planning for everything.”

Both men said progress had been made on citizens’ rights, with Mr Davis saying there would be an agreement “soon” to ensure EU nationals in the UK would be able to enforce their rights through the UK courts.

He said EU citizens would still have to register with the UK authorities but the process would be streamlined to make it as simple and cheap as possible.

According to Mr Davis, the remaining sticking points include:

  • The right to bring in future family members
  • The right to “export a range of benefits”
  • To “continue to enjoy the recognition of professional qualifications”
  • To vote in local elections
  • To “leave for a prolonged period and yet continue to enjoy a right to remain or permanent right of residence on return”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I think it’s quite shocking. We’re now 15 months on since the referendum and the government seems to have reached deadlock at every stage.”

He said “falling out” of the EU without a trade deal would threaten “a lot of jobs all across Britain”.

MStarmer: “We need to grasp the urgency.”

Labour is calling for “emergency” talks between Mr Davis and the EU early next week, to try to break the deadlock ahead of the EU summit.

Earlier this week, European Council President Donald Tusk warned that if the current “slow pace” of negotiations continued the UK and the EU would “have to think about where we are heading”.

He suggested that the green light to begin talks about a post-Brexit trade deal would not come until December at the earliest.

Last month Prime Minister Theresa May used a speech in Florence to set out proposals for a two-year transition period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, in a bid to ease the deadlock.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-41585430