The Latest: EU official annoyed by lack of Brexit progress
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):
The European Parliament’s chief Brexit official is increasingly exasperated by the lack of clear British proposals coming from London seeking to unblock the current deadlock.
Guy Verhofstadt met with the British Brexit negotiator Stephen Barclay on Tuesday but again was left emptyhanded when the envoy of Prime Minister Theresa May left his office.
Verhofstadt said “in the last week, I met Prime Minister May, Brexit Secretary Barclay, (Cabinet Office Minister) David Lidington and other British officials.”
“Unfortunately I didn’t hear any concrete proposal to break the deadlock. So I ask myself what ‘crucial state’ in the negotiations is being talked about in the Commons,” he asked of the discussion in Westminster.
He said that “I continue to believe the way forward is cross-party cooperation, rather than kicking the can down the road to a disastrous no-deal.”
The European Parliament also needs to approve any Brexit deal if it is to go through.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says it is in everyone’s interest that a “Brexit solution that works for all is found in the weeks ahead.”
Speaking at a Financial Times event in London, Carney said Brexit as well as rising trade tensions around the world are “manifestations” of efforts to reshape globalization.
He said that in many ways, Britain’s departure from the European Union is the “first test of a new global order and could prove the acid test of whether a way can be found to broaden the benefits of openness while enhancing democratic accountability.”
Brexit, he added, could lead to “a new form of international cooperation and cross-border commerce built on a better balance of local and supranational authorities.”
Britain’s spending watchdog has issued a damning assessment of the Department of Transport’s efforts to secure a ferry contract to ease disruption in the event the country leaves the European Union without an agreement on future relations.
The National Audit Office says it was only last autumn that the government recognized the possibility of significant disruption to freight traffic for up to six months after Brexit, rather than previous estimates of six weeks.
The department signed a 13.8 million-pound ($17.7 million) deal with Seaborne Freight, even though the firm had no ships and failed to meet the criteria for the contract.
The contract was terminated last weekend after Irish company Arklow Shipping, which had backed the new operation, backed away from the deal.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to urge lawmakers to “hold their nerve” as she struggles to finalize a divorce agreement with the European Union.
May will update the House of Commons on Tuesday on the state of the negotiations, a day earlier than planned to give lawmakers more time to “digest” the remarks before a series of votes on Thursday.
In excerpts released before her statement, May says: “The talks are at a crucial stage. We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House has required and deliver Brexit on time.”
Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29. Parliament last month rejected May’s deal with the EU, partly because of concerns it would tie Britain to the bloc indefinitely.