AP NEWS

The Latest: EU, Britain agree to fast-track Brexit talks

August 21, 2018

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

The European Union and Britain say they will accelerate Brexit negotiations and hold regular talks to try to bridge important differences in an effort to seal an agreement before the end of the year.

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Tuesday that both sides “have agreed that the EU and the U.K. will negotiate continuously from now on.”

He says work will focus on how to keep goods, services and people flowing over the border between Northern Ireland in the U.K. and EU member Ireland, and a political declaration on future EU-U.K. ties.

While conceding that “there are still gaps,” Barnier’s British counterpart Dominic Raab said that if both sides are pragmatic “I am confident we can reach the agreement in October.”

Britain leaves the EU on March 29 but a deal must be clinched soon to leave parliaments time to ratify it.

___

9:45 a.m.

A group that represents U.K. hospitals has warned that its members may run out of drugs if Britain leaves the European Union without an agreement on future relations.

NHS Providers says a lack of “visible and appropriate communication” from the government is hampering preparations for a so-called no-deal Brexit.

In a letter to National Health Service bosses that was leaked to the Times of London on Tuesday, the group’s chief executive says it would be more efficient to develop contingency plans nationally rather than “have to reinvent the wheel 229 times.”

Chris Hopson says “the entire supply chain of pharmaceuticals” could be affected by the failure to reach a deal, adding that it could also “jeopardize” the EU workforce “on which the NHS relies.”

AP RADIO
Update hourly