Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

How close will European Union and United Kingdom stay after Brexit?

How close will European Union and United Kingdom stay after Brexit?

That frustration was reinforced by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who also told EU legislators that "there is increasing urgency to negotiate this orderly withdrawal".

The EU parliament approved a text that says Britain should, among other things, not be able to cherry-pick benefits of the EU market in any agreement on future relations, AP reports.

He also defended an European Union proposal for the bloc to continue to regulate trade in the British province of Northern Ireland after Brexit, should no other ways emerge to avoid a hard border between that territory and the country of Ireland. "Nonetheless we must respect it", he said.

Juncker warned it was particularly crucial for London to clarify its plans for the sensitive issue of the Irish border.

At next week's EU summit, Brexit negotiators will be zeroing in on a transition period which could effectively keep the United Kingdom in the Customs Union and Single Market for two more years.

Several issues remain to be solved, including finding a solution for the future of the Irish border.

The EU last week snubbed British Prime Minister Theresa May's calls for a special post-Brexit deal by offering London just a free-trade agreement with no special treatment for Britain's mighty financial sector.

"Tariff and quota-free trade in goods is the minimum requirement for German companies, ideally within the framework of a customs union", Lang emphasized.

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Other sticking points will be avoiding a hard border in Ireland, as well as securing citizens' rights.

"It sounds to me like they believe it was Russian Federation, and I would certainly take that finding as fact", he added.

Mr Barnier added that it was a "rather surprising idea" to think the European Union could accept convergence in some areas "and at the same time open up the possibility for divergence when there is a comparative advantage to be had" for the UK.

"We're stuck inside a Customs Union".

The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said talks he held with May and her Brexit minister David Davis last week had left him confident London would "see the advantages of such an approach".

"As the clock counts down with one year to go it is now time to translate speeches into treaties", Juncker said.

His European Parliament motion calls for an "association agreement" to deal with the future UK-EU relationship.

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