Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

No big progress on Brexit since March - EU's Barnier

Brexit news BBC Newsnight Theresa May Northern Ireland BBCThe campaign for the reunification of Ireland has grown since the Brexit vote
Melinda Barton | 15 May, 2018, 15:58

"Obviously we will have cooperation between U.K. and Galileo, obviously, as we have for the United States or Norway".

"No significant progress" has been made in negotiations with London since March, the EU's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, told 27 ministers from the bloc on Monday, according to the chairwoman of the talks.

Reduced to a friendly third country at best has angered the British government, which sees it as a negotiating ploy in the protracted Brexit negotiations that face a fall deadline if Britain's March 29, 2019 departure date is to proceed smoothly.

"We are concerned that there is no clear stance, no clear position from the British. We want to be part of the secure elements of the system and we want United Kingdom industry to be able to bid for contracts on a fair basis".

Allow me to repeat myself: "we are not there yet", Barnier said on Monday, adding the outstanding issues, including the Irish border conundrum, were "very serious".

European Union rules mean the United Kingdom and its companies cannot participate in the "development of security sensitive matters", he said, adding that this did not mean the United Kingdom could not use an encrypted signal from the system as a third country.

She was sceptical about UK Prime Minister Theresa May's idea to use smart border technology to enable an open border between the EU and the UK even if the latter leaves the customs union.

The Brexit schedule is tightening, sources said, which helps the European Union negotiating strategy to pile pressure on London before the June summit but mostly is due to lack of substantial headway in the talks.

Barnier said the "two key points where there is a risk of failure" is the Irish issue, and the governance of any future Brexit deal, which Britain says must be out of the hands of the EU's top court.

"I just cannot see how the United Kingdom being outside the customs union can possibly work with an open border on the island of Ireland". "What I hope to see is that there will not be a hard border because then you would not honour the Good Friday Agreement", she said. But many businesses fear the economic harm of a so-called "hard" Brexit.

Miliband joined former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Conservative legislator Nicky Morgan to urge a soft Brexit that keeps Britain in the EU's single market.