British prime minister Theresa May warns the EU to avoid the “unacceptable” demands in negotiations over Northern Ireland’s borders.
The prime minister will set out her case to other European leaders at a informal summit in Salzburg this week, hosted by Ausrtian Presidency of the EU.
The reaction came after the EU top negotiator Michel Barnier suggested a shift in tone on his controversial “backstop” plan to avoid a hard border.
“We are ready to improve this proposal,” Barnier said.
Another key EU figure, European Council president Donald Tusk, said the UK’s plan for the Irish border “will need to be reworked“.
The European Parliament passed a non-binding motion during plenary session in Strasbourg on Tuesday, September 3, calling on EU leaders to postpone its assessment at a summit on October 19-20 if there is no major breakthrough in Brexit talks.
The government leaders of the EU 27 member states should postpone their assessment of Brexit on 20 October as “sufficient progress” has not been made on three key aims unless the fifth round of talks on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU delivers a major breakthrough, says a resolution passed by 557 votes to 92, with 29 abstention A further round of negotiations are due to be held in Brussels next week, a week before the EU summit.
European Union leaders confirm they will not accede to Britain’s request for discussions on a post-Brexit free trade relationship until “sufficient progress” is made on key issues affecting the withdrawal of Britain in March 2019. Among key issues are financial settlement, citizens rights, and Irish border. None of the dossiers have seen progress so far. The transition period May suggested in Florence, could be accepted by EU27 only along with ‘four freedoms’, including free movement of people.
“There has not been sufficient progress made, – Guy Verhofstadt, EP Brexit coordinator. -Especially with regard to citizen’s rights, we are very worried.”
Belgium (Flemish) MEP Gerolf Annemans suggested UK government starts to work on plan B, meaning UK withdrawal without an agreement.
A breakthrough will not be possible before a 1500 GMT deadline to restore Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said as Britain called for an agreement “as soon as possible”.
Northern Ireland politics has been in crisis since the collapse in January of the compulsory coalition between pro-British unionists and Irish nationalists mandated under a 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of sectarian violence.
Britain’s Northern Ireland minister James Brokenshire told a number of issues were outstanding between the two main parties and while he did not explicitly set a fresh time line, the DUP confirmed that an agreement was not imminent.
“There is not going to be a breakthrough which will lead to nominations taking place today,” DUP assembly member Edwin Poots said to reporters, referring to the scheduled nominations of new ministers cancelled shortly after his remarks.
“Talks will continue. We can conclude this within days but that is not in our gift.