EU wary as Brexit talks resume

AFP-Jiji BRUSSELS (AFP-Jiji) — The European Union warned Britain on Thursday that time is running out to reach a divorce deal by the end of the month, a necessary step to guarantee moving the Brexit process on to trade negotiations.

As Brexit talks resumed in Brussels, concerns are growing among EU officials that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s mounting political woes are slowing down negotiations on the historic split.

Stalling by Britain on its exit bill has prompted fears that EU leaders will be unable to advance to the next phase of talks on a trade deal as hoped in December, and that the deadline could even slip to March.

“Time is pressing,” chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said in a speech in Rome before flying back to Brussels to start the sixth round of the slow-moving talks.

“The European Council summit in October wanted to keep up the dynamic of the negotiations and I am of the same state of mind,” he said. “But the real moment of clarification is coming.”

Barnier added that future ties would depend on whether Britain stuck to the “European model” of regulation, in a pointed warning after U.S. Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross said London should move closer to U.S. rules after Brexit.

Britain’s Brexit ministry replied on Twitter that “we’ve made considerable progress on the issues that matter.”Speech

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