Saturday

19th Jan 2019

'Final phase' Brexit talks to go on 'continuously'

  • UK Brexit negotiator Raab and EU chief negotiator Barnier met for the third time in little over a month (Photo: European Commission)

UK and EU negotiators agreed on Tuesday (21 August) in Brussels to step up political discussions to reach a compromise on the Brexit divorce deal by negotiating "continuously" as the risk of Britain crashing out of the club next March increases.

The UK Brexit negotiator Dominic Raab and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier met on Tuesday for the third time in little more than a month and are expected to meet next week as well.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"The negotiations are now entering the final stage," Barnier said, adding that from now on the UK and the EU will negotiate "continuously".

"We need to vitalise these talks and get issues out of technical discussions and into political resolution," Raab told reporters at a joint press conference after their meeting.

Negotiators are racing against the clock to find an agreement by October to give enough time for British and European lawmakers to approve the deal before the UK is due to leave the bloc next March.

One of the key stumbling blocks to a divorce deal remains how to solve the conundrum of the border on the island of Ireland, which will become the EU's new external border.

The UK and the EU have both promised to avoid a hard border on the island that could reignite sectarian conflicts in the region, but they need to agree on ways to police the line and inspect goods coming through.

The UK has rejected the EU's proposal to keep Northern Ireland in the EU's customs union and parts of the single market in order to protect the peace deal there.

But Britain has so far failed to come up with possible solutions that are workable or acceptable for the EU, which is keen to keep the internal market intact.

"We focused on what needs to be done," Barnier said of Tuesday's talks.

The border issue will be paramount to speed up the talks between now and the mid-October summit of EU leaders.

As the UK is getting ready on Thursday to publish a series of notes that should guide policies in case no deal is agreed, there is increasing chatter in Brussels of an extraordinary summit in November to seal the Brexit deal.

The very final moment for a deal to be struck could be the December meeting of EU leaders.

British prime minister Theresa May will also have a chance at an informal meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg, Austria, in mid-September to address the key issues.

"We can find common ground between the EU's principles and the UK's decision," Barnier said, adding that this needs to be done "well before the end of the year".

EU urges no-deal Brexit preparation

The EU Commission urged companies, citizens, and member states to prepare in case the UK next March crashes out of the EU without a deal - on the day the new UK Brexit minister arrived in Brussels.

'Dealbreaker' issues multiply in Brexit talks

As chief negotiators Raab and Barnier meet again in Brussels on Friday, UK demands for guarantees on the future relationship have put chances of no-deal Brexit over 50 percent.

News in Brief

  1. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  2. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  3. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  4. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  5. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  6. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  7. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  8. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan

Opinion

Lost in Brexit chaos - abortion rights in Northern Ireland

Labour MP Diana Johnson has brought a private members bill to Westminster that proposes to decriminalise abortion in the whole of the UK, which means that, if successfully passed, current provisions for Northern Ireland will also be repealed.

May on whistle-stop EU tour to seek new backstop pledges

The British prime minister dramatically delayed a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal at the last minute, as she faced defeat. Theresa May will now speed-tour EU capitals to try to secure further political guarantees.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  2. Germany led way on EU rights protection
  3. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  4. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  5. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  6. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  7. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  8. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us