Wednesday, January 16, 2019 | ePaper

May to set out 'Road to Brexit' in speech

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Reuters, London  :
British Prime Minister Theresa May will make two speeches on Brexit in the coming weeks to provide more details setting out the country's path to leaving the European Union.
Britain is hoping to seal a transition deal next month to smooth its exit from the EU, and reach agreement on a long-term trade agreement later this year. However, Brussels said last week a transition deal was not a certainty and that London needed to clarify what it wanted from the EU.
May's government will aim to address that in a series of six speeches by the prime minister and other senior ministers in the next few weeks, which her office dubbed "The Road to Brexit".
"Brexit is a defining moment in the history of our nation," a source in May's office said.
"As we move along the road to that future, we will set out more detail so people can see how this new relationship will benefit communities in every part of our country."
May's first speech, to be delivered at a conference in Munich next Saturday, will set out the security relationship Britain wants with the EU. She will deliver another setting out Britain's future partnership, although a date for that has yet to be confirmed.
Foreign minister Boris Johnson, a leading Brexit advocate, will begin the 'Road to Brexit' series with a speech on Wednesday, described by May's office as a "rallying cry to those on both sides of the Brexit debate."
Brexit minister David Davis will outline how Britain's businesses can maintain their global reputation after Brexit in an as yet unscheduled speech. Trade minister Liam Fox and cabinet minister David Lidington will also give speeches.
Finance minister Philip Hammond, seen as the most pro-EU member of May's cabinet, will not give a speech.
The EU would deny Britain the Brexit transition period requested by Theresa May if ongoing disagreements in negotiations are not resolved, Michel Barnier has warned.
The European Commission's chief negotiator told reporters in Brussels that a transition period was "not a given" and that "there will undoubtedly be a problem" if the UK sticks to its guns.
The UK is at odds with Brussels in a number of areas: it has demanded a power to object to new rules imposed on it during the transition period, restrictions on the rights of EU citizens who come to Britain during the transition, and the ability to opt in to certain European policies.
The EU says its plan for the transition agreed by the 27 member states, which does not include these aspects, is "logical" and "non-negotiable".
Talks also appeared to be making little headway on Friday after Mr Barnier accused the UK of cancelling a planned meeting due to a "diary clash". But British officials immediately denied cancelling the meeting and said it had merely been moved to the afternoon.

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