Brexit 'uncertainty' can't go on, says EU's Verhofstadt

Cheryl Sanders
June 20, 2017

But a week ago Mr Davis said "we will start down this process but I will have some discussions with Mr Barnier about how we progress" to trade talks.

With Britain's negotiations on the terms of its departure from the European Union set to begin on Monday, the country risks skills shortages and losing business if it ends freedom of movement without a new plan for attracting workers, the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said.

With the two-year clock on Brexit ticking since March, when a letter from May formally started proceedings, Barnier dismissed the suggestion of postponing the negotiations and said such a delay would prompt only further instability.

"We launch negotiations in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies and friends in the future".


Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, said that Brexit can be halted, but if Britain reversed course it should not expect to keep getting its EU budget rebates or opt-outs from key EU rules. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said: "If we don't succeed, both sides will lose". "But the 27 of us will formulate our interests very clearly and hopefully, together", Merkel said.

The vote came as a profound shock to Brussels against a backdrop of rising anti-EU sentiment, with many - including now US President Donald Trump - predicting the bloc's eventual break-up.

And even when May finally triggered the two-year unraveling process on March 29, she followed it up by calling an early election on June 8 that she hoped would strengthen her majority in parliament and thus her negotiating mandate with the EU.

In a tweet, Verhofstadt said the "current uncertainty can not continue" after the UK's June 8 general election resulted in a hung parliament and left Prime Minister Theresa May scrambling to form a minority government propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).


"Yesterday Emmanuel Macron ... said if Britain is changing its mind, it will find an open door", said Mr Verhofstadt.

Macron, a committed pro-EU leader and ally of Merkel, also easily won French legislative elections on Sunday, cementing his power base.

The liberal former prime minister of Belgium is a supporter of much closer integration in the European Union, with national governments handing over more powers to Brussels.

It has been claimed that secret talks between senior cabinet members and Labour MPs have touched on remaining in the single market or customs union. "I can't negotiate with myself", Barnier was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.


Other reports by iNewsToday

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER