Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Britain's May to consult business leaders on Brexit

Britain's May to consult business leaders on Brexit

The EU and Britain clashed Monday after British Prime Minister Theresa May said the ball was in the EU's court as Brexit negotiations entered a critical fifth round.

Britain will not revoke the "Article 50" legal process which started a two-year Brexit negotiating period, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday.

"And as we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court, but I'm optimistic it will receive a positive response, because what we are seeking is not just the best possible deal for us, but I believe that will also be the best possible deal for our friends too". Progress has been limited so far, despite May's offer in a speech in Florence to plug the gaps in the EU's budget that the United Kingdom will create when it leaves, and an assurance that the country will meet its wider financial obligations to the bloc.

"From her point of view, the transitional agreement is non-negotiable. business should think of the two-year period as assured".

The PM has said she can "prove the doomsayers wrong".

She said a Labour government coming in after the formal date of Brexit in 2019 would "reset our relationship with the EU" but stopped short of saying whether that would mean continued membership of the single market, highlighting the need to change the immigration system which could prove hard within the single market.

"Now the reality for this Tory (Conservative) government is beginning to bite, but if things do not improve, the reality may soon begin to bite for the jobs and living standards of the people of this country", said Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party.

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As the European Union and Britain started the fifth round of Brexit talks on Monday, both sides quarreled over who was responsible for making the next move in the stalled negotiations over Britain's departure from the bloc.

European Commission chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas remarked, "This is not exactly a ball game", and repeated the Union's position that because Britain had not given up enough ground on paying a Brexit bill - what he called "step one" - there would be no progress allowed elsewhere.

May told British lawmakers that "there is a new dynamic in the negotiations" since her major Brexit speech in Florence, Italy, last month.

Six months of Brexit negotiations have not led to a significant breakthrough.

The UK will publish papers setting out plans for post-Brexit trade and customs regimes later on Monday, May's spokesman James Slack said. "But some party colleagues have jumped to May's support and accused Shapps of stirring up trouble when an overwhelming majority" want her to carry on as Prime Minister.

In Brussels, it has been repeatedly made clear earlier that negotiations with London in all four previous rounds have come to a standstill, primarily because the British side was withdrawing from the discussion of the financial issue.

"So we don't go talking about what happens if we end up with no deal, but quietly, assiduously, those preparations will be in place". The Europeans want "significant progress" on their three priorities before talking about the future.

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