The EU yesterday ramped up pressure on Britain ahead of a new round of Brexit talks, warning again that time is running out for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to clinch a deal.
“There has been some progress, but we really need to move forward now. Time is of the essence,” said Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Matti Maasikas, whose country holds the bloc’s rotating presidency.
He was speaking before hosting a meeting of European affairs and foreign ministers, to be attended by European Chief Negotiator for the UK Exiting the EU Michel Barnier.
Barnier and his team also meet their British counterparts in Brussels in the afternoon to start four days of talks.
May on Friday said that her government would keep paying the EU and following its rules during a two-year transition period after Brexit in March 2019, but the Europeans want to see how her offer and others made in a speech in Florence, Italy, translate into concrete proposals.
EU leaders are to meet on Oct. 19 and 20 to assess whether Britain has made “sufficient progress” on the terms of the divorce arrangements for negotiations to move on to future relations and trade.
Britain says all issues are intertwined and should be discussed together.
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but any deal must be sealed by October next year to leave time for parliaments to endorse it.
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