Time to turn Brexit speeches into treaties: EC president

Time to turn Brexit speeches into treaties: EC president

The UK must find a solution to the Irish-border issue if Brexit talks are to continue, the European Union has warned.

Protesters wave the EU and Union flags outside the Palace of Westminster, London, Britain, December 20, 2017.

"Theresa May's order that Britain should leave the digital single market may mean that she has to pay more on a trip to the south of France but it will have a significant impact on people living in border communities or those who cross the border for work here. I want to stress that we are very close to a deal at this time", Walker said in a speech at the Institute of Directors in London.

The EU has consistently said since the June 2016 referendum that it's not looking to punish Britain for its vote and is working to get a deal on the future relationship that works for both sides but which is consistent with its rules.

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The EU and Britain are hoping to seal a deal this month on a transition period after Brexit, and start talks on the future relationship this spring.

Both Britain and the European Union have vowed to avoid the return of customs checks to the border and an interim deal in December left some flexibility on the issue, but an European Union text putting the agreement into law has sparked a fresh row with London.

The draft resolution, prepared by the European Parliament's Brexit Steering Group and approved by the Conference of Presidents (President and political group leaders) on 7 March, suggests that an EU-UK association agreement could provide an appropriate framework for the future relationship.

Juncker said that without a plan to avoid a hard border, the "backstop" of in effect keeping Northern Ireland in the customs union and single market had to remain.

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"It should come as no surprise that the only remaining possible model is a free trade agreement", European Council President Donald Tusk said in his statement upon publishing the guidelines, refusing much of the vision that May had shared in her Manson speech.

But it insists on a "binding interpretation role" for the European Court of Justice (CJEU) and rejects United Kingdom efforts to "cherry-pick" single market access for particular sectors, such as the financial services industry.

The full text of the prime minister's speech is available here.

European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt also called for more details from the Prime Minister.

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'Please Mrs May, at this summit next week, do what Trump has done - stand strong against the European Commission, against the unelected bullies'.

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