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Little progress made on any Brexit issue

Little progress made on any Brexit issue

Less than a year ahead of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, or Brexit day in March 2019, the EU's top negotiator Michel Barnier has revealed that there has been "little, or very little" progress in talks about the conditions for the United Kingdom to leave.

"Certainly the customs partnership, as proposed by the United Kingdom last June, isn't workable, that's the view of the (EU) taskforce and the EU27 and has been rejected, but I do think the customs partnership is closer to being made workable than this proposal of "max fac", Varadkar told parliament. "Because as I have often said, the clock is ticking".

"The two key point that remains where there's a risk of failure are the governance of the agreements and Ireland and Northern Ireland".

The EU says Britain must agree to a workable solution to the question of how to avoid a hard border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland by the June 28-29 summit.

The European Union has warned Britain time is running out to seal a Brexit deal, to ensure London doesn't crash out of the bloc next March.

But Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet is divided, with some pro-Brexit ministers openly dismissing what is believed to be her preferred option - a customs partnership under which Britain would collect tariffs on goods entering the country on the EU's behalf.

European Union leaders agreed at the March summit on a post-Brexit transition period lasting until the end of 2020, during which Britain will remain in the EU's common market in exchange for following European Union rules without any voting rights.

Labour will hope to complicate her government's talks on customs by trying to force a vote in parliament for the release of the documents May's cabinet are considering to try to boil down two current proposals to a single option. "We have only had first exploratory discussions", he said. "Our citizens and our businesses on both sides of the channel need more security and predictability for the future".

But he reiterated that Britain could not participate in the EU's Galileo satellite programme, pointing out that London itself had approved European Union rules saying that countries outside the bloc could not be involved.

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