Economy

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

With just over four months before Britain's departure, May is trying to finalise an outline of future relations before a summit of European Union leaders on Sunday due to endorse the Brexit accord.

Spain's foreign minister, Josep Borrell, told Politico today that it was the fault of EU negotiators, who neglected to include text already agreed between the United Kingdom and Spain despite multiple previous confirmations with European officials.

"This declaration establishes the parameters of an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defense and wider areas of cooperation", according to the document.

With less than four days until Sunday's meeting, a European Commission spokesperson said: "Very good progress was made in meeting between President Juncker and Prime Minister Theresa May".

"The Prime Minister reiterated her commitment to agreeing a deal that works for the whole United Kingdom family including Gibraltar, the other United Kingdom overseas territories and the crown dependencies".

The country will not agree to the draft deal until that is clarified, he said following a meeting with European Union ministers.

Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, said the DUP's withdrawal of support on a Budget measure raised questions as to how long the government could carry on in the face of widespread opposition to May's Brexit deal.

"Until that's clear in the exit text and the political declaration over the future relationship, we won't be able to agree to it".

He said that it has been "agreed at negotiators' level and agreed in principle at political level".

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There was speculation that the Prime Minister was struggling to keep her Brexit deal alive, after she announced following her meeting with Mr Juncker that she would return to Brussels on Saturday for further talks.

Speaking about the confidence-and-supply arrangement, she added: "It's not dying but we need to see a rethink in relation to this withdrawal agreement".

Sunday's summit is meant to conclude almost two years of complex and often acrimonious negotiations on how Britain and the European Union will function after their March 29 divorce.

European Union leaders have largely welcomed the deal, but Spain expressed concerns, saying the wording leaves unclear how Gibraltar, the British territory at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, would be dealt with.

Ambassadors from the EU's 27 remaining countries had been due to be briefed on the final text on Tuesday but the meeting has been re-scheduled for later this week.

The comments come after Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister, said he would reject the draft Brexit withdrawal deal without a clarification of the text on future talks on the status of Gibraltar.

"The Brexiteers may lose their Brexit", she added. "With Brexit only a few months away, something has got to give", he said.

"If the problem of future talks on Gibraltar is not resolved, Spain will have to vote no to the Brexit agreement".


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