Britain, EU clash over who takes next Brexit step

Angelica Greene
October 12, 2017

Under the headline: "Theresa May will stay as Prime Minister and get the job done", interior minister Amber Rudd wrote in us newspaper that "she should stay".

"That the prime minister refuses to say which way she'd vote if there were another referendum, and clearly doesn't believe in Brexit in her heart of hearts, makes her hard Brexit policy all the more irresponsible".

As the European Union and Britain started the fifth round of Brexit talks on Monday, both sides quarreled over who was responsible for making the next move in the stalled negotiations over Britain's departure from the bloc.

The PM added: "What I'm going to say to Nina is that we will look at the arrangements that we would put in place in relation to 'no-deal.' We're doing that at the moment - government across the board is doing work on that". But the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm which is leading the talks for the EU side, roundly rejected May's assertion that it was up to the EU 27 to take the initiative to advance the stalled talks.

But Iain wouldn't accept that as an answer, firing back: "So you can't tell me that you would vote Leave now?" European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the responsibility for progress is "entirely in the United Kingdom court".

He will meet with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and press the case for trade talks to begin.

She also said London would pay any outstanding amount it owed to Brussels, but did not say how much she thought the bill should be.

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May told British lawmakers that "there is a new dynamic in the negotiations" since her major Brexit speech in Florence, Italy, last month.

Britain has just over one year to negotiate the terms of the divorce and the outlines of the future relationship before it is due to leave in late March 2019. But they would be flying in the face not only of Barnier's advice, but also that of Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and the European Parliament.

The talks have stalled on all three of the key divorce issues - the exit bill Britain must pay, the rights of European Union citizens living in Britain and the fate of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. MEPs overwhelmingly voted in favour of a motion last week calling on the leaders to delay their decision until their next summit in December, owing partly to divisions in May's government.

On Monday the government published papers on trade and customs which May said would pave the way for Britain to "achieve the greatest possible tariff and barrier-free trade" after Brexit, even if there is no trade deal with Brussels.

Despite presenting plans including those to govern a no-deal scenario, the proposals said the government still intends to reach a settlement with Brussels.

Theresa May has refused to say whether she would vote for Brexit if another referendum were held today, saying instead she would have to "weigh up the evidence" before deciding what to do in the current situation.

May said it was "highly unlikely" that new rules would be brought in during an implementation period that the United Kingdom had not already agreed to before leaving.

Other reports by GizPress

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