2017-10-09 12:04:45 UTC
hopelessly divided and says timetable for talks is too tight
"The battle within the cabinet to replace Theresa May as prime
minister has left the UK an unreliable negotiating partner in the
Brexit talks, unable to convince the EU that it will stick to any
agreement it strikes, a former Irish prime minister has said.
"Speaking to business leaders in Brussels, John Bruton accused the
British government of being hopelessly divided, and offering only a
vague and impractical vision of what might come once the UK leaves the
bloc in 2019."
"In a withering response, however, the European commissions chief
spokesman told reporters in Brussels that there was 'clear sequencing'
to the talks and 'no solution' had been found to move the talks on
from the opening withdrawal issues. 'The ball is entirely in the UKs
court for the rest to happen', the spokesman said.
"The EU is refusing to address issues relating to a future trading
relationship with the UK until sufficient progress is made on the
issues of citizens rights, the Irish border and, perhaps most
problematically, the UKs financial settlement.
"Asked about the absence of the Brexit secretary, David Davis, from
the first day of the fifth round of negotiations starting on Monday,
the spokesman added: 'The European commission article 50 team is
available 24/7. The timing of talks depends on the availability of our
UK partners. We are always here and we are ready.'
"The comments suggest there is little hope in Brussels that there will
be progress in the negotiations this week. In Brutons address on
Monday, the former Irish prime minister said he feared that the
time-scale allowed under article 50 was simply too severe to allow for
the negotiations to prosper. The EU, he said, was necessarily
inflexible in its approach to the talks as it needed to determine its
position by agreement in 27 European capitals.
"This time-consuming process left a real risk of disaster as a
transition period would also be difficult to negotiate, he said. The
UK would have left the customs union and there could be need for
protracted talks with both the EU and the WTO in order to organise a
new temporary arrangement.
"Bruton further warned that a deal on what EU regulations and
directives would apply in the UK could additionally require
ratification by all the member states, and their parliaments. He said
the UK could find itself out of the EU in April 2019 before the
transition deal has been ratified by all countries, meaning the deal
would be inoperable.. "
So David Davis didn't turn up? Ryanair flight cancelled?