UK, EU agree to 'accelerate' Brexit deal efforts

ANI | Updated: Oct 17, 2017 05:39 IST

Brussels [Belgium] Oct 17 (ANI): The United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) on Monday agreed to accelerate the pace of Brexit negotiations over the coming months.

The decision was taken at a surprise dinner held by British Premier Theresa May and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Brexit is the popular term for the prospective withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Anadolu quoted a joint statement as saying that "both sides agreed that these issues are being discussed in the framework agreed between the EU27 and the United Kingdom, as set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union".

Article 50 sets out the procedure for a member state to withdraw from the Union.

"The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission reviewed the progress made in the Article 50 negotiations so far and agreed that these efforts should accelerate over the months to come," the statement added.

Earlier in the day, the British premier held a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders discussed progress in the negotiations.

The U.K. had insisted Brexit negotiations had reached a point where sufficient progress had been made to take the talks to the second stage, where the future relationship between the U.K. and the EU could be discussed, reports Anadolu.

However, upon the completion of a fifth round of negotiations last week, EU officials said the progress seen was not enough, despite a praised conciliatory speech by May in Florence.

Back home, May could face significant defeats over Brexit as Tory rebels agree to coalesce around amendments to give MPs a binding vote on the final deal and to delay Britain's exit from the EU if a transition period is not agreed, reports The Guardian.

It further adds that "the government is urgently trying to quell a potential rebellion after the scale of cross-bench cooperation over the EU withdrawal bill intensified, with newer MPs called in for meetings with chief whip Gavin Williamson".

Those involved said that the government's decision to delay the next stage of the bill by at least a week had simply provided more time for their operation, with discussions across parties intensifying on Monday. One cabinet minister added that concessions were likely.

The interest in both a final vote and transition are the most significant for the prime minister as they could hamper her ability to complete the Brexit process.

In a referendum on 23 June 2016, 51.9% of the participating UK electorate (the turnout was 72.2% of the electorate) voted to leave the EU. On March 29, 2017, the British government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union. The UK is thus on course to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

The issue of citizens' rights is one of the main issues that is to be dealt with during the negotiations, along with the land borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and Gibraltar and Spain. (ANI)