Don’t waste time, EU Brexit chief tells Britain

Michel Barnier
Updated 13 June 2017

Don’t waste time, EU Brexit chief tells Britain

BRUSSELS: EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has warned London not to waste time, as Brussels waits for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May to name a date for talks.
In an interview with a group of European newspapers, Barnier lamented that it was already three months since May had formally triggered the two-year process of Britain leaving the EU.
“My preoccupation is that time is passing, it is passing quicker than anyone believes because the subjects we have to deal with are extraordinarily complex... I can’t negotiate with myself,” Barnier was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.
“It will take us several months to draw out the conditions of an orderly withdrawal . . . so let’s not waste time,” he said.
Formal negotiations between Barnier and British Brexit Minister David Davis had been due to start next week but that timetable has been thrown into doubt by May’s catastrophic loss of a majority in last Thursday’s election.
She is now seeking an alliance with a hard-line unionist party in Northern Ireland to cling on to power.
Barnier held “talks about talks” with May’s Brexit adviser Olly Robbins and British EU ambassador Tim Barrow in Brussels on Monday but they failed to agree on a date for the negotiations to begin, a EU official said.
“I need a British delegation and a head of delegation who are stable, responsible and have a mandate,” Barnier was quoted as saying by French daily Le Monde.
Barnier has said he wants to wrap up a Brexit deal by October 2018 so it has time to get through national parliaments and the European Parliament in time for Britain’s departure from the bloc at the end of March 2019.
His comments echo those of EU President Donald Tusk who said on Friday that there was “no time to lose” to avoid Britain crashing out without a deal on future relations.


Russian, French presidents to attend Holocaust memorial

Updated 38 min 30 sec ago

Russian, French presidents to attend Holocaust memorial

  • It is Macron’s first visit to the country since becoming president

PARIS: Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel on Thursday, with 40 other heads of state also set to attend.

Putin will be among those to make a speech at the memorial; Polish President Andrzej Duda elected not to travel to Jerusalem because he was denied the same opportunity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose Putin for the address after relations with Poland soured over Warsaw’s decision to pass legislation sanctioning people who accuse the Polish state of crimes against humanity during the Second World War.

French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, arrived in Israel on Tuesday for an official trip.

It is Macron’s first visit to the country since becoming president. He will meet Netanyahu on Wednesday before talks with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, as well as the leader of the Israeli opposition, Benny Gantz.

Macron will then meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Elysee sources suggested that Macron would discuss the current situation between Israel and Palestine with Netanyahu and Abbas before attending the memorial.