Thursday, August 22, 2019
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Britain must budge for Brexit breakthrough: EU’s Barnier

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier appealed Monday to London to change its approach on Brexit in order to break the current impasse over the divorce deal negotiated with Brussels, hours before meeting British Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.
The talks follow a request by British Prime Minister Theresa May to make legally binding changes to the withdrawal agreement in order to secure a majority in parliament for the deal, which would ensure a smooth departure when Britain leaves the European Union on March 29.
The EU has ruled out reopening the 585-page withdrawal deal but has shown willingness to change an accompanying political declaration in which both sides outline their preferences for the future relationship.
Barnier said he would repeat the EU’s position and “listen to what the secretary of state has to tell us” about alternative arrangements that London would like to use to replace the backstop. “But this is nothing more than a concept today,” he added.
He also said British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to revive European divorce talks was “interesting”, but he was awaiting new ideas from London.
Michel Barnier was due to meet Britain’s third Brexit minister, the newly appointed Stephen Barclay, later in the day, hoping to hear how Prime Minister Theresa May plans to win support for an agreement for Britain’s withdrawal from the European bloc.

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