U.K. insists Brexit talks will continue despite EU pessimism

U.K. insists Brexit talks will continue despite EU pessimism

U.K. insists Brexit talks will continue despite EU pessimism

"We have put forward some proposals - very reasonable proposals - and we're now really into the detail of the discussions".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during the weekly Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons in London March 6, 2019.

However, many European Union diplomats are skeptical an agreement can be reached in time for a March 12 vote in the House of Commons on May's plan to leave the bloc.

Their comments come as former Unionist leader David Trimble published an open letter to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in which he claimed that fears about Brexit in the North were "groundless".

Britain's chief law officer says Brexit negotiations with the European Union will continue through the weekend, as the United Kingdom scrambles to secure changes to the EU divorce deal before a vote in Parliament next week, it was reported on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

"If we don't pass the meaningful vote on Tuesday we'll go into a parliamentary process that very likely will lead to an extension of time and an uncertain outcome, more uncertainty for the British economy, more uncertainty for people across the country", Hammond told broadcasters. "It is in the European interest for the United Kingdom to leave with a deal", May will say in a speech in Grimsby, northern England, according to pre-released extracts.

Meanwhile, the May government is set to lose another senior member of its Brexit negotiating team on the date it is set to exit the bloc.

"There is clear support for finding alternative arrangements to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland", a spokesman for the Brexit department said.

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EU officials continue to complain that the United Kingdom is yet to offer an alternative proposal to the backstop, while the European Commission's chief spokesperson briefed reporters on Wednesday that little progress had been made.

The European Commission confirmed "technical talks" were continuing and said president Jean-Claude Juncker was "available 24/7" to meet Mrs May if a deal was close.

Barnier said the discussions have nonetheless taken place in a "constructive atmosphere", speaking the day after he held the latest round of talks with United Kingdom attorney general Geoffrey Cox and Brexit minister Stephen Barclay.

European Union diplomats briefed on the negotiations said the UK's top lawyer Geoffrey Cox had proposed a disputes arbitration panel that would not be obliged to refer cases to the EU's top court, the ECJ, whose jurisdiction Britain wants to leave.

Number 10 is believed to hope a deal can be reached by Sunday night, with the possibility of the Prime Minister travelling to Brussels on Monday morning to meet Mr Juncker.

May tasked attorney general Cox with securing concessions from the European Union on a key demand of pro-Brexit lawmakers, namely that divorce provisions to ensure no hard border on the island of Ireland would not trap the United Kingdom in the bloc's trade rules.

"That is why we are making it as easy for them as possible to apply for the status they need, and without any fee".

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