Juncker and May fail to impress after latest Brexit meeting

Written by Martin Banks and Julie Levy-Abegnoli on 17 October 2017 in News
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MEPs have been left unimpressed by the outcome of a meeting in Brussels on Monday between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker | Photo credit: Press Association


In a joint statement following their working dinner at the Commission, May and Juncker said they had “reviewed the progress made in the Article 50 negotiations so far and agreed that these efforts should accelerate over the months to come.

“The working dinner took place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere,” the statement went on.

However, no substantial progress was made on the three withdrawal issues: citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, and Northern Ireland. Neither side put any further offers on the table.


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Reacting to the outcome of the meeting, Claude Moraes, a Labour MEP, told this website, “The outcome of the May/Juncker meeting is being widely misinterpreted by most of the UK press.

“The EU 27want the UK to stay within the mutually agreed Article 50 guidelines and come up with more realistic positions on all three ‘divorce’ areas before we can move on to trade and sectoral issues.”

The British deputy added, “I believe there is now near full agreement on citizens’ rights but not on Northern Ireland and the financial contribution. To avoid further delay and deadlock, the UK side must speed up and improve the quality of their response and the EU27 must give the UK some leeway to complete the ‘divorce’ stage of three key points beyond October if, as seems likely, the European Council will deem there has been insufficient progress.”

Moraes added, “Internally in the UK, in sections of the press and Conservative Party, the talking up of a ‘no deal’ scenario as in any way acceptable should stop, as the consequences would be disastrous for the UK economy and society.”

ECR group member Charles Tannock said, “No deal looks more likely by the day and I was not encouraged by the outcome of the meeting.”

Ahead of May and Juncker’s dinner, MEPs had already voiced their frustration at the lack of progress in the talks. Elmar Brok, who is representing Parliament’s EPP group in the negotiations, said,

“I feel some substantial concern about the UK government still not taking its obligation to fulfil its financial commitments seriously. If sufficient progress is not made in November, it will not be possible to start the second phase of the negotiations at the European Council meeting in December either.”

 

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

Julie Levy-Abegnoli is a journalist for the Parliament Magazine

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