Brexit negotiators postpone next round of divorce talks
Birmingham News - Wednesday 13th September, 2017
Brexit negotiators were scheduled to hold next round of negotiations next week
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is planning a public speech on her latest strategy
The talks would have been the fourth round since June
LONDON, U.K. - The fourth round of Brexit talks since June, that were scheduled to be held next week, have now been postponed.
According to reports, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is planning a public speech on her latest strategy.
On Monday, officials from the European Union and Britain were due to meet in Brussels, but now four officials familiar with the preparations have said that the talks have been delayed.
Officials said that discussions are likely to start on September 25, however, the pound pared gains on the report.
The office of Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has not made any official comments so far.
However, a U.K. government official said that there is still a conversation underway and pointed out that the dates published at the start of the process were indicative and subject to change.
Speaking to reporters in London on Tuesday, May’s spokeswoman, Alison Donnelly said, “Both sides have agreed to be flexible, but nothing is agreed formally" on the dates.
The decision to delay the talks have come to light a week after the European Parliament’s Guy Verhofstadt said May was preparing to make an "important intervention" that might require rescheduling.
Earlier, in January, May delivered a speech in which she first unveiled her vision for the separation of the U.K. from the EU.
However, May’s language in that speech was seen at the time as hard and uncompromising.
Reports estimate that May’s speech, if any, would likely take place after her return from attending the United Nations in New York, around September 22.
After losing its parliamentary majority, in an election that May didn’t have to call, her Conservative government has been forced to soften its approach.
The government too has shown more willingness to compromise on the need for a transition and paying a divorce bill, although EU officials complain a refusal to discuss the details of the financial settlement mean the two sides are in deadlock.
Experts believe that May’s speech, considered to be a follow up of her speech from January, is intended to try to force the pace of negotiations in the run-up to a summit in October.
EU leaders are scheduled to give an assessment in October, of whether “sufficient progress” has been made on separation issues to enable the start of trade discussions.
So far however, a date for the speech has yet been confirmed.
May will reportedly use the speech to explain how a raft of British position papers offer a vision of a “deep and special partnership” with the EU.
Last week, May’s team said that she is also set to make the case for continuous talks to inject urgency.
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