EU Lawmaker Doubts Brexit Talks Will Move To Next Phase In December

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STRASBOURG (Alliance News) - Moving on to the next phase of Brexit negotiations will likely not get the green light by EU leaders in December, a top EU lawmaker said on Tuesday, as a countdown continued on a two-week deadline to make headway in the talks.

The EU said last Friday that British negotiators had two weeks to make progress in the divorce talks if they wanted the EU side to approve moving on to talks about a future relationship in December.

"It is more likely that we will not enter the second phase of the negotiations in December," said Manfred Weber, chairman of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the largest political group in the European Parliament.

"But the clock is ticking: In spring 2019, Britain will leave, and we need to warn the British government and call on them to put proposals on the table."

Weber said he was travelling to London on Wednesday for discussions about Brexit.

The EU wants to see "sufficient progress" in the talks in three key areas - citizens' rights, a financial solution and the issue of the border on the island of Ireland - before talks can proceed to consider a future relationship between the bloc and Britain.

It is essential for Britain to get started on discussions on a future relationship, including trade, to allow enough time to finalize an agreement before the date of Britain's exit from the bloc, on March 29, 2019.

Copyright dpa