Brexit talks: EU, Britain say ball is in the other's court

Brexit talks: EU, Britain say ball is in the other's court

Under the headline: "Theresa May will stay as Prime Minister and get the job done", interior minister Amber Rudd wrote in us newspaper that "she should stay".

Divisions over the future of British Prime Minister Theresa May burst into the open on Friday with a former chairman of her party saying 30 Conservative members of parliament backed a plot to topple her. What I'm going to say to Nina is, we will look at the arrangements to put in place if there is no deal.

Although May has talked up the "promise of Brexit" since gaining power a year ago, she had, in the run-up to the June 2016 referendum, quietly backed staying in the European Union. But the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm which is leading the talks for the EU side, roundly rejected May's assertion that it was up to the EU 27 to take the initiative to advance the stalled 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's court for the rest to happen".

The onus is on the United Kingdom to have "realistic expectations" of post-Brexit relations with the European Union, it said. Even before this latest intervention, the prognosis for the talks was grim, with commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker having warned that "miracles" would be needed this week to make enough progress to get a positive decision at the summit. "But I am optimistic we will receive a positive response", May said.

Business groups have been eager for the government to confirm what will happen immediately after March 2019, when Britain formally leaves the EU. The questions over May's leadership have seriously damaged hopes that a speech she gave in Florence in September, which contained key concessions, could give a "new dynamic" to the talks.

London wants to begin talks on the future, including a possible EU-UK trade deal, as soon as possible. "I would like to say very clearly that the EU is not working on such a scenario", European Council President Tusk said in a speech in Brussels.

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When an EU citizen who has lived in the United Kingdom for 31 years asked three times for reassurance that she could stay in the country with her current rights in place even if no deal was struck with the EU, May was unable to give a definite answer.

Pressed on what would happen to British citizens in European Union countries, she said: "We don't know what would happen to them".

White papers published on Monday on customs and trade made it clear that Britain would trade under World Trade Organisation rules if it left without a deal, and would set its own tariffs and taxes on goods, as well as moving borders inland.

Kristian Jensen said striking a deal "is not rocket science" and within reach "if the political will is there".

May, who said she voted to remain, called a general election earlier this year in a bid to unite the country around her vision for Brexit.

May said it was "highly unlikely" that new rules would be brought in during an implementation period that the United Kingdom had not already agreed to before leaving.

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