Published: Mon, December 18, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

United Kingdom proving doubters wrong on Brexit, says defiant May

United Kingdom proving doubters wrong on Brexit, says defiant May

Ireland's Europe Minister Helen McEntee told HuffPost UK that while Britain has always been clear it wants "a very close relationship" with the European Union, there now needed to be flesh on the bones of any future deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May this week secured an agreement with the EU to move Brexit talks on to trade and a transition pact, but some European leaders warned that negotiations, which have been arduous so far, could now become tougher.

At the weekend, Chancellor Philip Hammond was attacked by Brexiteers for suggesting a transition period will "replicate the current status quo" of the UK's trading relationship with the EU.

Brussels has also said the "UK will continue to participate in the customs union and single market during the transition, it will have to comply with EU trade policy" as well as permitting freedom of movement during the expected two-year period.

Despite her House of Commons defeat earlier in the week as a result of her own party's rebellion to vote with the Opposition on giving UK Parliament more say in the final Brexit agreement, May struck a defiant tone in her message.

"We are ready to start working with the government on the three axes it has indicated: exit from the Union, exit from the single market, exit from the customs union".

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In an interview with Prospect magazine, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier claimed an interim period can not last longer than two years "for legal reasons".

"Amid all the noise this Government is getting on with the job", she said.

He added: "They have to realise there won't be any cherry picking".

The European Commission official said: "We won't mix up the various scenarios to create a specific one and accommodate their wishes, mixing, for instance, the advantages of the Norwegian model, member of the single market, with the simple requirements of the Canadian one".

Mrs May's vow to register new EU arrivals might also ruffle feathers, with the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt having previously branded such a scheme during a transition period "out of the question".

"They have to face the consequences of their own decision". "We will not be derailed from this fundamental duty to deliver the democratic will of the British people".

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The Brexit "war cabinet" - a subcommittee of senior ministers chaired by Mrs May - will meet today, with a meeting of the full Cabinet scheduled for tomorrow.

"This is the exciting part of the negotiations and there is no limit on our ambition and creativity".

The group believes that such a model would aim to keep the benefits of single market while allowing divergence from European Union rules over time.

He called for a deal that "gives us that important freedom to decide our own regulatory framework, our own laws and do things in a distinctive way".

The EU's negotiating position makes clear that the bloc expects the United Kingdom to observe all of its rules - including on freedom of movement - and accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) during this time.

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