German industry wants more clarity around Brexit until next week

by Ben Pena March 15, 2018, 1:59
German industry wants more clarity around Brexit until next week

Separately, the deputy head of the European Commission told the European Parliament that the Union had a duty to stand by Britain and urged the other 27 national leaders to make that clear when they meet May at a regular Brussels summit next week at which Britain's imminent exit from the EU is on the agenda.

"The two leaders agreed on the need for consequences for those who use these heinous weapons in flagrant violation of global norms", it said.

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Juncker said things "cannot remain as they are" for the United Kingdom in its relationship with the EU after Brexit.

The EU and Britain are hoping to seal a deal this month on a transition period after Brexit, and start talks on their future relationship this spring.

The Federation of German Industry (BDI) urged British Prime Minister Theresa May and the remaining 27 European Union leaders to agree a "status quo" transition period preserving present trade arrangements beyond Britain's departure date of March 29, 2019.

Mr. Juncker says both sides have agreed that there should be no hard border on the island of Ireland and that must be respected.

The suggestion that the Irish border is a European issue was heckled by one MEP, who shouted: "It is a British issue".

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During his speech, Juncker said the issue of Ireland was a European one, but was interrupted by members of the parliament saying this was only a British issue.

"It is impossible to be outside the European Union and to have a better position than as a member of the European Union".

"It is time to face up to the hard facts", he added.

Any less comprehensive free-trade agreement in lieu of customs union membership would carry the risk of logistical bottlenecks and inevitably lead to an increase in the cost and bureaucratic burden associated with trade, he added.

Another German industry group, the VDMA engineering association, also called on Tuesday for an EU-UK customs deal.

The European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt also called for more details from Ms May. In his words, it is now time to turn "speeches into contracts, engagements into agreements and move from speeches, common assumptions and desires for future relationships to concrete, applicable solutions". If we go for transition, we stay inside a Customs Union.

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