EU Set for First Talks with UK’s New Brexit Secretary
The UK’s new Secretary for Brexit Dominic Raab is heading on Thursday for his first talks with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
Raab replaced his predecessor David Davis last week, as the latter resigned from the Cabinet of British Prime Minister Theresa May in disagreement with her Brexit plan.
May’s blueprint also led to the resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and which forced her to reshuffle much of the Cabinet.
The UK’s new Secretary for Brexit, who was part of the Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum, is taking the stage as the European Commission, the EU executive, is telling the EU member states to be ready for a no-deal scenario.
A draft of a Commission paper seen by BBC News states that a no-deal Brexit could result in disruption to air transportation, and customs checks on British goods entering the Union.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar has made it clear his government is also preparing for “the unlikely event of a no-deal hard Brexit” with measures such as appointing 1,000 additional customs agents as well as veterinary inspectors at border entry points.
Also on Thursday, British Prime Minister May is going to visit the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for the first time since the Brexit referendum more than 2 years ago.
She is to “reaffirm her commitment to a Brexit that avoids a hard border and protects the Belfast Agreement”.
The UK’s new Brexit Secretary Raab is essentially taking over at a time of ongoing debates within the ruling Conservative Party on the exit deal and the future relationship between Britain and the EU.
“What we now should all do on all sides of this chamber is not call for second referendums, not call for returning to the customs union, but get behind the government’s plan, show some united front, so we get the very best deal for everyone in this country,” Raab stated in the House of Commons on Wednesday, calling on the MPs to back Theresa May’s Brexit blueprint.
Earlier, her office turned down the highest profile call so far for a new Brexit referendum, and the House of Commons voted down a proposal to modify the Cabinet’s blueprint to stipulate for a customs union with the EU if no deal is reached with Brussels within a certain deadline.
The European Union has made it clear it is going to analyze in detail May’s Chequers plan for Brexit before responding.
The UK is due to leave the EU by March 29, 2019, but the EU has insisted that a deal be agreed upon by October 2018.
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