Slow progress may delay Brexit decision

  • 04/10/2017
Brexit or british exit on airport sign board with blurred background. Brexit concept.
Photo credit: Getty

Talks regarding Britain's exit from the European Union have failed to make enough progress to allow negotiations to proceed to discussing a future trade relationship, the EU's most senior leaders say.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said despite four rounds of talks, there was a lack of progress on three key issues necessary to be solved before talks can proceed.

This will prevent the commission, which negotiates on behalf of the whole EU, from recommending that EU leaders approve moving on to talks about Britain's future relationship with the bloc.

"We have not yet made the sufficient progress needed," Mr Juncker said.

"Until now, I can't say that we are ready to enter the second phase of the negotiations."

After the hearing, EU politicians echoed Mr Juncker's view by passing with overwhelming support a resolution that calls on EU leaders to postpone making a decision about moving to trade talks with Britain due later this month.

EU member states are to decide whether to move on to the next phase at at their October 19-20 summit.

While the vote is not binding, it reflects the current mood in the EU parliament, which will have to approve any final deal between the bloc and Britain.

Earlier Manfred Weber, head of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the largest political group in the European Parliament, said negotiations shouldn't be held hostage to British domestic politics.

"The top question I think for the moment is: Who shall I call in London? Who speaks for the government?" Mr Weber said.

The comments came after British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, a key supporter of Brexit, had made comments on Britain's exit from the bloc that were contrary to those by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

"Please sack Johnson, because we need a clear answer on who is responsible for the British position," Mr Weber said. "Theresa May, please don't put the party first - put please Britain first, put please the citizens first."