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Britain given two-week Brexit deadline

Britain given two-week Brexit deadline

Following another round of talks with David Davis and his team, Barnier said that the United Kingdom now has two weeks to make concessions if it wants to make any progress by December. Barnier knows that the pressure is mounting on May at home to move on to trade talks, and that a Prime Minister as weak as her can't take all that much domestic political pressure. But as ever, he had more to say about the importance of finding a solution than about what that solution might be.

"Only sufficient progress - that is to say honest and real progress - on the three main key issues of these negotiations will enable the triggering of the second phase of our negotiation", Barnier said, according to a web broadcast of the briefing.

The clarifications should come within the next two weeks, Barnier said: "If that's not the case, then we will continue and that will pull back the opening of discussions on the future".

Britain has been given an ultimatum by the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Brussels wants three issues broadly solved before giving the green light - the exit bill, safeguarding expatriate rights and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which will be the UK's only land frontier with the European Union after its departure. "If we are to find a way forward it will require flexibility and pragmatism from both sides".

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One thing that was clarified on Friday was exactly when Britain would leave the Union.

European Union remain campaigner and Labor MP Chuka Umunna said in a radio interview Friday that many experts believed the March 2019 leaving date did not give much time for negotiations, saying more time may be needed. In Brussels, the time at that precise moment will be midnight.

Without more clarity on the divorce bill, European Union leaders meeting on December 14-15 will not be able to agree that sufficient progress has been achieved in the negotiations to move on to the next phase of discussing future trade relations with Britain.

On the problems of avoiding a "hard border" between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, Davis and Barnier said more work must be done.