EU’s Brexit negotiator: Time has come for the UK to make its choice

Mostapha Zarou
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The second phase of Brexit talks kicked off in London with the EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier warning the United Kingdom for more clarity on its proposal.

Speaking after a meeting with his British counterpart David Davis and the Prime Minister Theresa May, Barnier said: “Time has come for the UK to make its choice on the future relations with the block”.

While Davis hailed the constructive talks, Barmier was firm that UK government must respect the rules of the Union during the two-year transitional period ending December 2021 with no say in shaping them.

Most people expect trade between UK and EU to be similar to what it is now during the transitional period because they do not want businesses on both sides of the channel to change their arrangements for this implementation and then they have to change it all again once the future relationship is known what is going to be.

But it seems this relationship will take a while before it is known which was reflected in the increased sense of frustration of Barnier who want to have an arrangement in place by October this year. With so much to do in so little time, he urged Theresa may to spell out her Brexit policy, saying time is running out.

From previous rounds of talks with the European Union, it is widely known what UK does not want however a document released last summer by the Brexit minister Davis mentioned a bespoke custom arrangement requirement with frictionless trade as much as possible, adopting new technology in one of the two options with no further details of this technology that is probably not invented yet. The other is a custom partnership.

Prior to Barnier’s arrival, a Downing Street spokesperson insisted the UK would categorically be leaving the customs union after reports suggested that May has softened her talks with infighting among her party and her cabinet on the way forward in these Brexit talks.

A Brexit subcommittee made of some senior figures of the cabinet are scheduled to meet twice this week to thrash an agreement on the way forward for Brexit talks. Unlike previous EU trade deal with other countries, the British government wants to strike a unique partnership that has never happened before which is going to be very difficult and potentially a lengthy exercise to achieve anything near as being a member unless a compromise is reached between Uk’s government and the European union.

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