'Little' progress in Brexit talks since March, says Barnier

Brexiteers are hungry. How long can Theresa May keep them waiting for their marshmallows?

Brexiteers are hungry. How long can Theresa May keep them waiting for their marshmallows?

The adviser said the issue could only be settled as part of the EU's post-Brexit security agreement with Britain.

During a meeting of ministers from the remaining European Union 27 countries, "Mr Barnier informed us that since 23rd of March no significant progress has been made", Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told reporters.

Michel Barnier said there was a "risk of failure" in two key areas - Northern Ireland, and how the agreement will be governed.

Barnier later said that there had been "a little, not very little progress" but warned that more was urgently needed.

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.

Ekaterina Zaharieva, the Bulgarian minister who chaired the meeting, said: "The council was informed that not much progress has been made since the European Council in March".

She said "substantial progress" needs to be made on the issue of the Irish border by June, saying that the solutions proposed by the United Kingdom government so far would "mean a hard border".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

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.

With the Irish Republic to have the only European Union land border with Britain after Brexit, Varadkar repeated a warning that failure to achieve genuine progress on the customs issue by next month would cast doubt on sealing an overall withdrawal agreement by an October deadline.

Mr Barnier and United Kingdom government negotiations will meet twice in Brussels before the next European Council summit on June 28 and 29 in a bid to find agreement on the outstanding issues.

The EU and Dublin insist the treaty must lock in a backstop arrangement in case future customs arrangements do not remove the need for controls on the intra-Irish border.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives in Downing Street, in London Thomson Reuters LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he had raised concerns with his French counterpart over the European Commission's decision to exclude the country from a new satellite navigation system. "Our cooperation should be and will as close and as positive as possible".

The deal could include regular British-EU foreign policy talks, cooperation on military and aid missions, cooperation on defence projects and intelligence sharing, Barnier said.

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