United Kingdom tries to counter claims it's unprepared for Brexit talks

Barsaba Taglieri
Agosto 13, 2017

Britain says it is ready to move to the next phase of Brexit talks and set out details of the future relationship it wants with the European Union.

The papers, to be published from this week, will include one covering the thorny issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after the United Kingdom has left the EU.

The EU says those negotiations can't start until sufficient progress has been made on three initial issues: how much money the United Kingdom will have to pay to leave the bloc; whether security checks and customs duties will be instituted on the Irish border; and the status of EU nationals living in Britain.

The bloc's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said last month there was "a clock ticking" on the talks. But, Brussels has insisted that progress must be made on divorce arrangements first.

Ireland's premier Leo Varadkar meanwhile has expressed his frustration at the failure so far of the UK Government to come up with firm proposals to ensure that there is no return to the "hard" border between the North and the Republic.

"We've been crystal clear that issues around our withdrawal and our future partnership are inextricably linked, and the negotiations so far have reinforced that view", a source in Britain's Brexit department said.

European Union officials have expressed impatience with the pace of Britain's preparations.

The documents - setting out proposals for Northern Ireland and the border with Ireland, continuity on the availability of goods and confidentiality, and access to official documents after Brexit - will seek to prove the U.K.is ready for talks to advance to the next stage, according to the statement.

They insisted the issues of Britain's withdrawal - which include the divorce bill the United Kingdom will have to pay in respect of its outstanding liabilities - remained "inextricably linked" with the talks on its future relations with the bloc.

"It's what businesses across Europe have called on both sides to do and will demonstrate that the United Kingdom is ready for the job".

"I've launched this process because with time of the essence, we need to get on with negotiating the bigger issues around our future partnership to ensure we get a deal that delivers a strong United Kingdom and a strong EU".

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