Government shares confidential Brexit plans with EU
Following the announcement from the Finnish prime minister, Antti Rinne, that the UK had 12 days to set out their Brexit plans, the government has announced they have shared confidential documents with the EU which “reflect the ideas the UK has put forward.”
Labelling Rinne’s deadline as “artificial”, the government also announced that ministers would put forward “formal written solutions when they are ready.”
A government source has claimed that the sending of these documents was not in response to the Finnish PM’s remarks and Boris Johnson was quick to state that while he did not want to “exaggerate progress” of the negotiations, progress was being made.
This statement of progress was somewhat supported by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who told Sky News that this talks with Johnson earlier in the week were “rather positive.”
Despite this more positive note, Simon Coveney, the deputy of Irish Taisoeach Leo Varadkar, stressed there was still “a big gap” between what the UK government was proposing and what Ireland the EU needed from any proposal.
Mina Andreeva, the chief spokesperson for the EU, confirmed there would be a meeting on Friday between Michel Barnier and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.
This follows Barclay’s fiery speech in Madrid yesterday, in which he argued that a disorderly British exit from the European Union would “destroy Spain’s tourism and fishing industries, cripple its exports and damage its economy.”
Describing the state of negotiations, Johnson said: “I don’t want to exaggerate the progress that we are making, but we are making progress.”
Arguing for the need to balance the UK being able to “do things differently” than the EU with the need to ensure no hard border returned to the island of Ireland, Johnson argued: “We think we can do that.
“We think we can solve that problem and I think we are making some progress.”