Carmakers fire warning shots at PM over Brexit border impact

Glen Norman
March 14, 2018

Things "cannot remain as they are" for the United Kingdom in its relationship with the EU once it has left the bloc, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said in an address to the European Parliament.

At the time the Prime Minister called for a "collaborative, objective framework that is reciprocal, mutually agreed and permanent", and promised "binding commitments".

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier that Britain was still confident it could reach agreement with the European Union on a transition period after Brexit at the European Union summit this month.

"But the idea of a customs union should not just be discarded, because from an economic point of view a free trade agreement does not go far enough", he added.

Barnier also urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to speed up the Brexit negotiations and define her vision for the future relationship between the country and the 27 remaining member states.

Mr Juncker was speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg when he mentioned the 29 March 2019 Brexit deadline, which was greeted with cheers by Ukip MEPs.

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

Britain is still yet to put forward an "official proposal" to the European Union and Mrs May's Mansion House speech, and its content, was already known by the bloc for two years, according to Mr Verhofstadt.

But running through the three options for Northern Ireland, Juncker - who was flanked by the EU's Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and his former Chief of Cabinet Martin Selmayr - said it was up to the come up with a workable solution that would avoid the need for a hard border.

The UK and the European Union are set to negotiate a deal later this month that will largely keep things as they are until 2020, but a number of companies are already concerned about the long-term impact on the industry that employs over 800,000 people and generates turnover of £77.5 billion. At its core was an aspiration that Britain would stick closely to European Union laws and regulations in certain sectors but be able to diverge in others.

"After Brexit there is a big discontinuity in all the trade and services, but we still have a large market and it's supposed to be an interesting opportunity for all the financial institutions", Katainen said.

"It is not crystal clear how a potential exclusion process will function", European Commision Vice President Jyrki Katainen told a news conference, saying he had discussed the issue with France and Japan.

In practice however many financial services firms are already taking steps to implement their contingency plans, building their out EU-based operations and moving jobs and roles there.

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