The Latest: May hopeful of progress on Brexit talks
Nov. 17, 2017
GOTEBORG, Sweden (AP) — The Latest on Brexit discussions (all times local):
British Prime Minister Theresa May says she's hopeful that European Union leaders will give the green light next month to expand Brexit talks to include their future relations and trade.
May told reporters Friday that Britain intends to live up to its commitments to its European partners, even as talks remain deadlocked over the divorce bill, Irish borders and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit.
She said "of course we want to move forward together, talking about the trade issues and trade partnership for the future."
She added: "I look forward to the European Union responding positively to that so we can move forward together and ensure that we can get the best possible arrangements for the future."
EU leaders meet again on Dec. 14-15 to assess whether enough progress has been made.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says he wants clear guarantees that Britain's departure from the European Union will not result in border controls between his country and Northern Ireland.
Varadkar said Friday that he would not permit Brexit talks to move beyond phase one into future relations and trade until he was assured there will be no barriers between the two.
He said: "We've been given assurances . that there will be no hard border in Ireland, that there won't be any physical infrastructure, that we won't go back to the borders of the past."
Varadkar added: "We want that written down in practical terms in the conclusions of phase one."
He said, of the British government, that "sometimes it doesn't seem like they've thought all this through."
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven is urging Britain to clarify how much it will pay the European Union as part of its financial settlement on leaving the bloc.
Lofven also raised doubts Friday about whether the Brexit talks will be able to move on to future relations and trade in December as hoped.
He said "Great Britain need to clarify what they mean with the financial responsibility."
Lofven, who held talks Thursday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, said that "we all hope that we can decide on the next phase but we still have some way to go."
EU leaders insist progress must be made on the divorce bill, the status of Irish borders and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit before future relations can be discussed.