…as Brussels says it’s her move
Brussels has issued a fresh warning that it is up to the UK to come forward with proposals if it wants to break the deadlock.
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At his daily press briefing in Brussels, the European Commission’s chief spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, insisted the next move had to come from the UK.
“There is a clear sequencing to these talks. There has been so far no solution found on step one, which is the divorce proceedings, so the ball is entirely in the UK court for the rest to happen,” he said.
His comments follow the latest assessment of the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, that there still has not been “sufficient progress” on the issues of citizens’ rights, the border with Ireland and the UK’s “divorce bill” for the talks to move forward.
Theresa May set out her vision for Brexit at a speech in Florence
Downing Street insisted there had been a “constructive” response to Mrs. May’s Florence speech in which she promised to honour the UK’s outstanding financial commitments and offered to continue paying in to the EU budget during a two-year transition following Brexit.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister said after her speech in Florence that the intention was to create momentum. I think we have seen that momentum.
“The response from the EU and its leaders has been constructive.”
However it looks increasingly unlikely that EU leaders will agree that they can move forward to the second phase when they meet in Brussels later this month.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that it would take “miracles” for them to be able to move on by the time of the summit on October 19-20.
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In her Commons statement, Mrs. May will tell MPs she is “optimistic” that she will get a positive response from the remaining 27 member states and they will prove the “doomsayers” wrong.
“A new, deep and special partnership between a sovereign United Kingdom and a strong and successful European Union is our ambition and our offer to our European friends,” she will say.
“Achieving that partnership will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends, the 27 nations of the EU.
“And as we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court. But I am optimistic we will receive a positive response.
“Because what we are seeking is not just the best possible deal for us – but also the best possible deal for our European friends too.”
She will acknowledge that “progress will not always be smooth” but will seek to strike a positive note about the Brexit process.
Nicholas Soames has called on his fellow Tories to get behind the PM
“By approaching these negotiations in a constructive way – in a spirit of friendship and co-operation and with our sights firmly set on the future – I believe we can prove the doomsayers wrong,” she will say.
“I believe we can seize the opportunities of this defining moment in the history of our nation.”
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Prominent pro-Remain Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames told Today that the Conservatives needed to get behind the Prime Minister during the complex EU negotiations. Minister during the complex EU negotiations.
He said: “I think, frankly, the party needs to get a grip and get on with it, and stop being so beastly self-indulgent.”
But senior backbencher Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the steering committee of the European Research Group of MPs, said Britain should take a tougher line on exit talks.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Mrs. May would have wide support if she returned from this month’s EU summit saying the UK had “had enough” of talks. Report by Nicola Bartlett mirror