No Brexit progress: Verhofstadt

No Brexit progress: Verhofstadt

The European Parliament’s Brexit representative has rejected UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s suggestion that an agreement is “95-per-cent done”, pointing to the lack of a solution to the Irish issue.

MEP Guy Verhofstadt said any withdrawal deal needed to prevent no deal was “zero-per-cent done” as far as the parliament was concerned because no solution had been found to the British border in Ireland.

“Progress on the Brexit negotiations can be 90 per cent, 95 per cent or even 99 per cent,” Verhofstadt said.

“But as long as there is no solution for the Irish border, as long as the [1998] Good Friday Agreement is not fully secured, for us in our parliament, progress is 0 per cent.”

MEPs have a veto on any final Brexit agreement and the parliament has said it would kill any deal that allows a hard border with Northern Ireland.

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said the EU would not “rush a deal through at the expense of our principles”.

“As was clear after the European Council [which represents the member states], the bottom line is that we do not have the decisive progress that we need,” he said.

“The goodwill and the determination to find a deal as soon as possible are there. But it is also clear that we will not rush a deal through at the expense of our principles or our agreed commitments, most notably on the Irish border question.

“With all of this in mind, we must now continue negotiating with patience, calm and an open mind. The commission and our chief negotiator Michel Barnier received the full backing of all our leaders to do just that. It is time to deliver and we’re getting on with the job.”

Aviation 

Flights between the UK and Spain could almost totally end in the absence of a Brexit deal, International Air Transport Association (Iata) has warned.

Travel for tourists, business and cargo would be hammered, said the body, which represents 290 airlines.

Routes to Spain are particularly vulnerable because of the size of both markets, as well as the large volume of tourists. Iata said there were 5,052 flights between the two countries each week.

Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s CEO, said: “If nothing is done it will be a nightmare in the European and UK airports.”

The EU and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority had plans for a “bare bones” agreement to ensure a basic level of service, according to Iata.

 

 

Pro-EU protesters demand a people’s vote on the Brexit crisis. Picture credit: Eurasia Times 

 

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