The Latest on Brexit negotiations (all times local):
Germany’s foreign minister says Berlin is willing to continue talks with Britain but is emphasizing the current Brexit agreement is the best one available.
Heiko Maas told the Funke newspaper group Wednesday it is important that British lawmakers have spoken out against a no-agreement departure from the European Union, saying that is in nobody’s interest.
But he called for clarity on how Britain wants to change the so-called “backstop,” the safeguard mechanism proposed to regulate the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit.
He says Germany is open to talks, “but our position is clear: the withdrawal agreement is the best and only solution for an orderly exit. Regarding the backstop, Germany and the entire Union are firmly on Ireland’s side. We will not allow Ireland to be isolated on this issue.”
The European Parliament’s chief Brexit official has derided the British political process on Brexit and insisted that the United Kingdom finally needs to get its act together and come with credible proposals on how to leave the European Union.
After Tuesday’s long session at the House of Commons which tasked Prime Minister Theresa May to go back to Brussels and seek a better exit deal, the 27 other EU nations and the European parliament have stood united in stressing that a renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement they clinched with May is out of the question.
Guy Verhofstadt said Wednesday he was getting increasingly frustrated with the political proceedings in London where a strong single voice has yet to emerge.
“What needs to stop is this: an amendment with 10 votes for, then an amendment with 10 votes against, an amendment that barely pulls through, one that fails,” he said of Tuesday’s session, which saw seven Brexit amendments of which two were passed.
“That is no way to build a future relationship with the EU,” Verhofstadt said.
The European Union’s Brexit negotiator says the EU stands united in defense of its divorce deal with Britain, after Prime Minister Theresa won a parliamentary mandate to reopen the agreement.
Michel Barnier said Wednesday that “the EU institutions remain united, and we stand by the agreement that we have negotiated with the U.K., never against the U.K.”
Barnier made his brief remarks after he met top European Parliament officials to discuss the Brexit votes in the British Parliament late Tuesday.
Britain is set to leave the EU in less than two months, but the main sticking point in London to sealing a Brexit agreement is the so-called “backstop.”
It’s aimed at ensuring that no time-consuming customs checks happen on the Irish border after Britain leaves, until a better arrangement is found.