Thursday, 19 October, 2017

Sterling slides as Brexit talks hit a 'deadlock'

GETTYBrexit talks appear locked in stalemate GETTYBrexit talks appear locked in stalemate
Melinda Barton | 12 October, 2017, 20:43

"There has actually been good progress made in these talks, and Michel Barnier himself has recognised that over the coming weeks we will be able to make constructive progress as well", May told reporters, adding that good progress was being made on the issue of citizens' rights. The pound fell Thursday on news of the slow progress, trading 0.6 per cent lower at $1.3142.

Brexit talks have made little progress, the European Union's chief negotiator said Thursday, meaning they can not yet be broadened beyond the terms of Britain's exit to include key issues like future trade relations.

May said Britain would ensure the other 27 countries did not lose out financially from Brexit in the current European Union budget period to 2020 and would honour commitments - but Barnier said London was failing to spell out just what it was ready to pay.

He said uncertainty about Brexit is weighing on the economy, and "we need to remove it as soon as possible by making progress" in talks with Brussels.

Barnier and his British counterpart, Brexit Secretary David Davis, told reporters on Thursday there had been some progress this week on the other two issues around Britain's March 2019 withdrawal from the bloc on which the European Union demands "sufficient progress" before it will agree to discuss a transition and future relationship.

A fifth round of negotiations broke up earlier in the day without major progress, fuelling fears that Britain will leave the bloc in March 2019 without an agreement to soften the blow.

However, Theresa May has held firm on her position that the United Kingdom will honour its commitments only once it secures assurances from Brussels over the breadth and nature of a future partnership.

'There have therefore been no negotiations on this subject. Thursday's news conference, though, was brightened briefly by an unexpected visitor dressed as a superwoman promoting her book on why Europe needs one.

"To be clear, on our side, we will be ready to face any eventualities, and all the eventualities", he said. That will be hard in a government constantly at war with itself on the direction of Brexit. "With David Davis, we will organise several negotiating meetings between now and the end of the year".

Keir Starmer said crashing out without a deal "would be catastrophic for jobs and living standards and must be rejected as a viable option".

Lawless reported from London.