Brexit talks to resume, with less than four weeks for an agreement

Brexit talks to resume, with less than four weeks for an agreement
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Brexit talks are resuming on Thursday, past the 15 October deadline, after a speech by the EU’s chief negotiator was approved of by Downing Street.

The British government stated that EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier’s speech met the threshold for resuming the Brexit negotiations after remaining silent for nearly a week.

On 16 October, the European Union made it clear that it felt “progress on the key issues” was “still not sufficient” for a deal to be made.

The UK government responded by stating that the EU should also be willing to make concessions, and not just expect the UK to do so.

In his speech, Barnier emphasised to the European Parliament that he felt an agreement is “within reach”,  and that he intends to “seek the necessary compromises on both sides”.

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“There will not be an agreement at all costs, as President Ursula von der Leyen has said on numerous occasions,” Barnier said on Wednesday.

“This is the position which is at the heart of my mandate, confirmed by your Parliament and by the European Council, reaffirming our constructive attitude to continue the discussion and negotiations.”

While Barnier seems to be open to making concessions in order to reach an agreement, European Council President Charles Michel continues to retain a hard line on the negotiations. On Wednesday, Michel reiterated that the EU is wanting to keep close ties with the UK, but that Britain cannot expect to “have your cake and eat it”.

An agreement would have to be reached in the coming weeks, as the ultimate deadline for the Brexit talks is set in early November to give both Parliaments sufficient time to ratify and implement the deal.

Amée Zoutberg

The Brussels Times

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