'The clock is ticking' - European Union warns Britain of poor #Brexit progress

Brexit news BBC Newsnight Theresa May Northern Ireland

Brexit news BBC Newsnight Theresa May Northern Ireland

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, yesterday told ministers from the remaining 27 member states that "little progress" had been made on the issues of Ireland and governance since the council last met in March.

"I think nobody must underestimate the key rendezvous of June", France's Barnier told a security conference in Brussels. "The clock is ticking", said Roth at the meeting with his fellow diplomats in Brussels.

"From the European side, we can say that we have made clear our position and we hope that the British government will enter negotiations also in a full way", said Austria's Gernot Blumel, echoing a long-standing EU complaint that Britain has not made its position clear in detail on parts of the negotiations.

Other outstanding issues include guarantees for expatriate rights, agreeing on security cooperation and trade rules after Brexit, to ensure a deal is in place when Britain leaves in March 2019, and an adaptation period ends at the end of 2020.

Zakharieva, who chaired the meeting as part of Bulgaria holding the six-month rotating presidency, said that the ministers are looking forward to more intensive engagement by the United Kingdom government in the coming weeks.

European Union leaders agreed at the March summit on a post-Brexit transition period lasting until the end of 2020, during which Britain will remain in the EU's common market in exchange for following European Union rules without any voting rights.

The Brexit schedule is tightening, Brussels sources said, which helps the European Union to pile pressure on London before the June summit but is mostly due to lack of real progress in the talks. Miliband joined former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Conservative legislator Nicky Morgan to urge a soft Brexit that keeps Britain in the EU's single market.

Linde is set to visit Ireland this week for talks with Trade Minister Heather Humphreys and EU Minister Helen McEntee, and Northern Ireland for meetings with the DUP and Sinn Féin.

And he defended the EU's stance over the UK's involvement in the new Galileo sat-nav system.

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