German firms ill-prepared for no-deal Brexit, study shows

Lester Mason
November 8, 2018

For Dublin and Brussels, the so-called "backstop" means that if Britain fails to negotiate a free trade deal within a 21-month transition period, Northern Ireland must remain in the single market.

"Seven days is probably pushing it but I am optimistic that there will be a Brexit deal", Hunt said, adding that it is "very, very hard to resolve but I am confident that we can".

"We need much more work" to clinch an agreement, Michel Barnier told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a congress of center-right political parties in Helsinki, Finland. The choices need to be made now on the United Kingdom side.

The position of Mr Barnier has confirmed the echoes obtained by the AFP from sources informed about the negotiations with London, that reported "some progress" on Northern Ireland, but "not sufficient to permit the convening of a summit, the extraordinary european council in November". Rumors are swirling that one might take place by the end of November, weeks ahead of a pre-planned summit in mid-December, but Barnier declined to say when or if that would happen.

Barnier, who was also in Finland, said it was impossible to say when divorce negotiations would come to a close, saying there could be no deal without a "solid fix" for the Irish border. But officials have repeatedly cautioned they are still haggling over the fate of the land border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

Varadkar spoke to British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday, agreeing that any backstop should be temporary.

"But I think beyond that you're into the new year which I think wouldn't be a good thing".

Barnier is this week at the meeting of his European People's Party in Helsinki and there is nothing on his public agenda about an imminent meeting with Britain's Brexit minister Dominic Raab.

And Tusk has said he would not call the summit that would approve such a treaty until Barnier had been able to report to him that "decisive progress" had been made towards agreement. European Union envoys in Brussels will get an update on Friday and then ministers from the 27 states staying in the bloc after Brexit are due to meet on Monday.

"For the moment, it is three steps forward, two steps back", commented the secretary general of the european Commission, Martin Selmayr at a meeting Tuesday evening in Brussels with German representatives, according to comments reported by the correspondent of the German weekly Der Spiegel.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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