Brexit: ‘Little progress’ in talks since March, says Barnier


Brexit talks tease made “little” progress since March, the EU’s chief negotiator has bid.

Michel Barnier said there was a “risk of failure” in two key areas – Northern Ireland, and how the bargain will be governed.

He said June’s EU summit was a “key rendezvous” to reach a distribute that can be ratified before the UK leaves.

And he defended the EU’s stance over the UK’s involvement in the new Galileo sat-nav technique.

The UK has played a key role in the programme’s development so far, but faces being shut out of key details of the programme after Brexit.

UK ministers are now considering setting up a rival form.

Galileo row

Mr Barnier said there had been “misunderstandings” in the coverage of the excuse, adding: “We are not kicking the UK out of Galileo. The UK decided unilaterally and autonomously to withdraw from the EU. This evidences leaving its programmes as well.”

EU rules mean the UK and its companies cannot participate in the “maturation of security sensitive matters”, he said, adding that this did not presage the UK could not use an encrypted signal from the system as a third country.

Earlier Field Minister Sam Gyimah said the EU’s position was “extremely disappointing”.

“The EU is playing eager ball with us,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We have lifted to develop the Galileo system. We want to be part of the secure elements of the organization and we want UK industry to be able to bid for contracts on a fair basis.

“It is only on those compromise concerns that it makes sense for the UK to be involved in the project.”

Barnier on negotiations

Mr Barnier was use after updating the remaining EU member states on the latest in the Brexit coming to terms.

Asked about the progress that had been made since Cortege, he said: “I would say little, not very little.”

He said the transition full stop that is expected to follow Brexit day in March 2019 depended on “operational liquids” being found on the issue of Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic.

“The clock is ticking” to reach an covenant before October or November which can be ratified by the UK and European Parliaments and the EU Synod, he said.

“So, little progress but we are working on technical issues which is usually useful.

“None of these issues are negligible. The two key points which remnants, where there is risk of failure, are the governance of the agreement and the Ireland-Northern Ireland consequence.”

Customs question

The UK government has yet to settle on the model it wants to replace the levies union in order to avoid checks at Northern Ireland’s border with the EU.

Prime Clergywoman Theresa May met Conservative MPs at Downing Street to set out the government’s two proposals.

Earlier Robustness Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – who has labeled one, a customs partnership, as “crazy” – to keep discussions private.

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“On the EU side, if they see divisions in the open, they will manoeuvre that,” Mr Hunt said.

At a press conference with his French counterpart, Mr Johnson was implored why he had not resigned given his differences with the prime minister – but he did not repeat his valuation of the partnership option and said he thought Mrs May’s position was “completely right”.

Mrs May’s key Brexit commission of senior ministers – which is divided over the customs issue – gathers again on Tuesday.

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