Economy

Juncker: no talk on Britain-EU trade deal yet

Juncker: no talk on Britain-EU trade deal yet”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, sits with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, center, and Bulgarian Prime Minister Bokyo Borisov during an informal dinner ahead of an EU Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017.

May offered the prospect of a post-Brexit security partnership as European Union leaders were gathered Thursday for a two-day meeting in Estonia and Brexit negotiations were gathering speed following months of inaction and barely concealed quarrels.

But he joined others in questioning whether sufficient progress had already been made to move to the next stage of talks to include a future relationship, which the United Kingdom desperately wants. "Millions more work in the public and private sectors delivering public services and making a vital contribution to our economy", they said.

"As far as the proposals are concerned, there is a high degree of agreement between Germany and France, but of course we still have to talk about the details", Merkel said.

He added that "I don't know whether we will be able to make that call until later in the month".

But by focusing on defense in Tallinn, May will want to show that Britain has something to offer its European neighbors and will say she is ready to share British expertise - including through the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - to help EU nations build up their own cyber-security capability.

In a speech in Florence last week, May sought to re-set the tone of talks and nudge them forward, after they all but stalled over the divorce settlement, especially over the so-called Brexit bill. May determined for talks on future trade relations to begin as soon as possible.

Following the latest round of talks this week, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Mrs May's speech had created a "new dynamic", but more progress was needed to move to the next phase of discussions.

"By the end of October, we will not have sufficient progress", Juncker told reporters in Tallinn.

But she did not say whether she thought it was enough to move the talks on to a discussion of the future relationship by an October summit after European Union negotiators said again this week that not enough progress had been made.

She added that "we will continue to offer aid and assistance to European Union member states that are the victims of armed aggression, terrorism and natural or man-made disasters". That stands in contrast with comments made by U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis during a Sunday interview on the BBC: "I mean firstly in 2019 we will leave".



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