Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

The ball's in your court, May tells European Union leaders

The ball's in your court, May tells European Union leaders

If May were in a stronger position, if she had won an outright majority at the snap election she called in June and delivered an authoritative, crisis-free speech to her party conference last week, she would have a stronger hand in the negotiations with Brussels.

The EU's head negotiator, Frenchman Michel Barnier, said that there had been no progress several times.

The fear in European capitals is that May is no longer calling the shots, making it virtually impossible to negotiate with the British government.

The pound fell nearly 3% last week as investors anxious that the campaign to oust May would succeed, ushering in months of uncertainty and the possibility of another general election, which the opposition Labour Party could win.

Of Mr Johnson, whom some Conservative figures have suggested should be sacked, she said: "He is a big intellect, a big figure in the party and if the prime minister believes he is the right person to be foreign secretary then she has my full support".

Interviewed by the Real News Network, he went further on, contradicting the downward household debt trajectory implied by Mark Carney, (Bank of England's Governor), in his recent speech, last week.

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Both May and her finance minister, Philip Hammond, acknowledged during Monday's meeting that businesses needed a better sense of Britain's post-Brexit relationship with the European Union.

The representatives of the upcoming meet with British PM Theresa May would include HSBC, Aston Martin, Morgan Stanley and Vodafone.

Officials from both sides met in Brussels, but chief European Union negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Davis did not attend the start, underscoring low expectations for the talks. Up until now, the British have not been very open to discussing the three issues European MPs consider priorities: the rights of EU citizens after Brexit, the "divorce" bill and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Some governments are also blocking proposals to allow discussion of the two-year transition deal that May asked for in Florence, according to diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity.

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

And a Trade Bill will include a preferences scheme providing "as a minimum" the same level of duty-free access to the United Kingdom market for developing countries.

Meanwhile, Brexit Secretary David Davis will travel to Brussels today to kick off the fifth round of Brexit talks.

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The PM vowed she would not "hide from a challenge" amid reports she could have a Cabinet reshuffle in an attempt to fix the damage to her authority.

Few were forthcoming in May's statement on Monday, though she did say that Britain might accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice during the transition period - an idea that infuriates many pro-Brexit members of her Conservative Party.

In an interview with the same newspaper, May pushed back.

Bruton told the Brussels branch of the IoD: "I hope more negotiating time can be agreed".

It comes after warnings from RBS chairman Sir Howard Davies over the weekend that the damage to business in the City of London because of Brexit will be "quite considerable over time".

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