Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Britain has two weeks to clarify Brexit bill

Britain has two weeks to clarify Brexit bill

"But the time pressure is more and more uncomfortable", Szymanski said, adding that if talks do no proceed in December, it could be problematic to find another date because of internal procedural aspects on both sides. That would create a maritime customs "border" in the Irish Sea between the island of Ireland and mainland Britain.

Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier met in Brussels on the second day of the latest round of talks.

That is something which the Conservatives and DUP have said they can not accept as it would effectively create a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

It is understood that there are about 100 European Union rules and regulations, including many covering customs and agriculture, that Ireland wants maintained to ensure an open trade Border.

Before his meeting with the Brexit Secretary, Mr Barnier said the moment was approaching for a "real clarification" of Britain's position on issues like citizens' rights, the Irish border and the UK's financial settlement.

By deciding to no longer to seek membership of the single market and the customs union, Theresa May has already ruled out the softest versions of Brexit - such as the so-called Norway option which even some Leave supporters wanted.

In other words the only way to square the circle of Britain leaving the customs union and single market with the goal of avoiding a hard Border is for the North to remain inside the EU regulatory tent.

No new negotiating rounds were agreed, as concerns mount over a possible further delay in talks and a risk of no deal if talks don't progress in December.

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"Only sufficient progress - that is to say honest and real progress - on the three main key issues of these negotiations will enable the triggering of the second phase of our negotiation", he said.

The Irish issue, while one of the three divorce issues that needs to be settled in the first phase of talks, had taken a back seat as the United Kingdom argued that it was hard to find an agreement on the gnarly border issue until the future trading relationship was sorted out. "We have consistently taxes and funding and enterprise and entrepreneurs and customs and borders but really children are the [.] people who are going to be living in this new reality in the future and we really need to take their voices and their rights seriously", he said.

A senior Government source said the British should not feel blindsided.

The discussions are ramping up ahead of a crunch summit of European leaders next month - which will decide whether to start talks on future trade arrangements.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) meanwhile has repeatedly warned that it will not accept any deal that undermines the union between Britain and Northern Ireland.

A deadlock in the negotiations meant there was no breakthrough at the summit of European Union leaders on 14 and 15 October.

The Northern Secretary James Brokenshire warned that negotiators need to ensure that nothing is done that undermines the integrity of the United Kingdom single market.

But its articulation of the customs union and single market issues are likely to prompt fierce resistance from the DUP.

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