Negotiations between the UK government and the European Commission on Brexit are due to resume in Brussels this week.
The programme for the talks focuses on the remaining issues in the withdrawal agreement. The schedule is:
Tuesday: Northern Ireland
Wednesday: Future relationship
Thursday: Future relationship
Friday: Wrap-up session
In a speech to the International Federation for European Law in Lisbon on 26th May, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said agreement had been reached on about 75 per cent of the text of the draft withdrawal agreement.
“We must also find a specific solution to the unique situation of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom accepted the principle of a backstop to avoid the return of any physical border and to respect the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts. We need to operationalise this backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement.”
And he warned: “Time is – and will be – short. If we want to lay the foundations of our future relationship before the UK’s withdrawal, we need to accelerate. On our side, we are ready to discuss this at political level. We are also ready, at any time, to intensify our negotiations at technical, legal and political level.
“Next, the European Council adopted in March guidelines which took into account the UK’s red lines, for example the UK government’s decision to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. If the UK wants to change its own red lines, it should tell us. The earlier, the better!”