European Union says talks with United Kingdom 'difficult' as Brexit impasse drags on

European Union says talks with United Kingdom 'difficult' as Brexit impasse drags on

European Union says talks with United Kingdom 'difficult' as Brexit impasse drags on

'My conversations with senior diplomats and politicians from across Europe have given me cause for optimism that a breakthrough is near, ' he added.

"We know what is needed to shift the logjam", he said.

The Trade Bill, which focuses on transposing outside countries' trade deals with the European Union into bilateral deals with Britain, is due to be passed before Britain leaves the bloc on March 29.

Cox's presence is seen as central to the meeting, as he will ultimately offer a legal opinion on the Brexit deal and the Irish backstop that could determine whether key MPs in the British parliament will approve the accord.

Meanwhile, Mrs May is believed to be considering a vote on the UK's future relationship with the European Union in order to gain support for her Agreement from Labour MPs.

Sky News said the government meant to publish details on the tariff cuts if lawmakers reject Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal in a vote due next week.

Prime Minister Theresa May agreed the withdrawal agreement in November, but the British parliament overwhelmingly voted it down in January and MPs continue to challenge it. Barnier met on Tuesday with United Kingdom attorney general Geoffrey Cox and Brexit minister Stephen Barclay over dinner in the Belgian capital.

As May seeks to win over lawmakers, a group of prominent Brexit rebels set out the changes they want to see to the agreement in return for their support: it must be legally binding, clear and set out an exit route for the backstop. If she can not, then the exit date is nearly certain to be delayed by lawmakers eager to avoid a potentially disorderly no-deal exit.

They are hoping to build on what May's team calls "progress" in talks to find a compromise that would rule out Britain leaving without a deal, a nightmare scenario for many businesses.

Anna Turley, a Labour lawmaker for the north-eastern town of Redcar in Teesside, said that report was 'shocking, accusing May of US-style 'pork barrel politics.

In an interview with the BBC TV, while being asked how he would respond, if the European Union Commission insisted on a delay beyond the second quarter of 2018 or a delay of 21 months or more, Fox said, "I would be shocked because I think it is actually not a possible outcome". The mechanism, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the a customs union with the other 27 EU countries in order to remove the need for checks until a permanent new trading relationship is in place.

May's government is also preparing to announce greater guarantees for workers' rights after Brexit, again in a bid to get Labour MPs onside.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell suggested Labour frontbenchers would be expected to vote for an amendment calling for a referendum, when MPs vote on Mrs May's deal on or before 12 March. "I don't want to overstate them because I still think there's a lot of work to do, but I think they do understand that we are being honest".

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