The Latest: EU negotiator unveils Brexit draft text
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Brexit negotiations (all times local):
European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has unveiled the first draft text of the EU’s legal agreement so far with Britain on the country’s departure from the bloc next year.
Barnier said that “if we want to succeed in these negotiations, and I want to succeed, we must accelerate,” noting that Britain will leave the 28-nation bloc in less than a year.
The 120-page document, which is subject to negotiation and will probably change significantly, sets out the progress made between the sides in legal language.
It would form the basis of the final Brexit withdrawal treaty, which must be adopted before Britain leaves at midnight on March 29, 2019. The text refers to a transition period that would help ease Britain out from March 30 next year until Dec. 31, 2020.
The Irish border is once again a stumbling block in Brexit talks, with anti-EU politicians accusing rivals of using it to keep Britain from fully leaving the European Union.
Britain and the EU agreed in December that the all-but-invisible border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would remain open after Brexit in 2019, but they left it unclear how that would happen in practice.
On Wednesday the EU will publish a 120-page draft agreement, translating the December commitments into legal language.
Pro-Brexit politicians in Britain are balking at reports that the EU will say that, if other solutions are not found, Northern Ireland should continue to adhere to EU rules.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused Brexit opponents of using the border to tie Britain’s hands “so we cannot really leave the EU.”