'The clock is ticking', European Union tells Brexit Britain

GETTY•BBCBrexit news Kier Starmer fails to back party's pro Brexit case

GETTY•BBCBrexit news Kier Starmer fails to back party's pro Brexit case

European Union negotiator Michel Barnier warned Britain Monday to resolve the issue of its post-Brexit border with Ireland by a June summit, saying there had been little movement since leaders last met in March.

"We are happy to be flexible if the British government comes forward with some new thinking, but what we are not flexible on is the outcome", Coveney said.

"Mr Barnier informed us that since 23 March no significant progress has been made on the three pillars that we work on: withdrawal, future framework, and Ireland", Ekaterina Zakharieva, the Bulgarian foreign minister chairing the council, told journalists at an official press conference following the meeting on May 14.

According to Zakharieva, "substantive progress" needs to be achieved on Ireland, governance, and all remaining separation issues by next month.

London has committed to avoid a "hard border" with checkpoints between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which all sides agree is vital to maintaining the 1998 Good Friday peace accords.

But Mrs May's spokesman said the "focus is on getting this right" rather than meeting a deadline.


Quest says Britain can't have an open Northern Irish border without allowing freedom of movement.

May's spokesman said London was working on two options for post-Brexit customs cooperation.

Coveney said a Customs Partnership between the European Union and Britain, as championed by some members of British Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet but opposed by others, could solve numerous issues required to ensure there is no hard border.

Other outstanding issues include guarantees for expatriate rights and trade rules after Brexit.

Gibraltar's post-Brexit future, in particular its inclusion in any transition arrangements, is also on the list of issues that require resolution.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said it was too early to discuss an extension of the timeline, but added: "The aim is now to conclude a deal in the time schedule that has been agreed on ... I very much hope we will agree but there are no guarantees, unfortunately".

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