The Latest: UK Parliament to get vote on final Brexit deal
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the Brexit negotiations (all times local):
British officials say Parliament will be given a chance to vote on the final withdrawal agreement between Britain and the European Union.
Brexit Secretary David Davis told Parliament on Monday the promised vote on an implementation bill means lawmakers will be able to scrutinize and oversee the Brexit process.
A key plank in the government’s plans for leaving the EU is returning to the House of Commons on Tuesday, so Davis’ announcement was seen as a concession of sorts.
But Davis says that if lawmakers reject the final deal, Britain still will leave the 28-nation EU bloc March 2019 — so the promise falls short of pro-EU legislators’ demands.
The agreement will cover areas such as the rights of EU citizens living inside Britain, the cost to Britain of leaving the EU, and any transition period for the withdrawal.
The German government says it’s “understandable” that the European Union’s chief negotiator is pressing Britain for imminent progress in its divorce talks.
EU leaders are due to assess at a Dec. 14-15 summit whether “sufficient progress” has been made to progress to talks on future trade relations. Negotiator Michel Barnier said Friday there must be real progress in the next two weeks if Britain wants that.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday that “time is very short” ahead of the summit — so “it is understandable that chief negotiator Barnier is underlining how necessary immediate action and immediate proposals by Britain are.”
Seibert stressed Germany’s position that “it is in our interest for these negotiations between the European Commission and the British to continue as constructively as possible.”
A senior German official is indicating that he is concerned about Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal.
News agency dpa reported that Thomas Steffen, a deputy finance minister, told an economic conference in Frankfurt on Monday that “we should all be prepared for the worst case actually happening in March 2019.”
He added: “And then we will see whether anyone in London or anywhere else can produce a different scenario. Today, I don’t see it.”
EU leaders are due to assess at a Dec. 14-15 summit whether “sufficient progress” has been made on divorce terms to move to talks on future trade relations. The EU’s chief negotiator said Friday there must be real progress in the next two weeks if Britain wants that to happen.
Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with European business leaders to discuss trade links between Britain and the European Union after the country leaves bloc.
May’s office says the prime minister will outline plans for a “bold and deep economic partnership” Monday when she meets with representatives of companies in Germany, France and other parts of the EU.
Businesses on both sides of the English Channel are clamoring for information about future relations as they try to ensure Brexit doesn’t restrict the 554 billion pounds ($724 billion) of trade that flows between the U.K. and EU countries.
The EU refuses to discuss future trade links before there is agreement on the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal, including how much Britain will pay to meet its financial commitments to the bloc.
The European Parliament’s president says he believes Britain should pay at least 60 billion euros ($70 billion) as it leaves the European Union, to meet its financial commitments.
The divorce bill is the biggest stumbling block in negotiations on the U.K.’s withdrawal from the bloc, due in March 2019. The EU is demanding that Britain turn promises to pay its financial dues into concrete commitments.
Asked in an interview with Germany’s Funke newspaper group published Monday how much Britain should pay, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani was quoted as saying: “In my opinion, it should be at least 60 billion euros.”
He added: “If the EU accepted less, European citizens would have to make up the difference. But why should the Germans, Italians, Spanish or Dutch pay the Britons’ bill?”