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UK: Britain and Brussels clash over who takes next Brexit step

 |  October 9, 2017

The EU and Britain clashed Monday, October 9, after British Prime Minister Theresa May said the ball was in the EU’s court as Brexit negotiations entered a critical fifth round.

Officials from both sides met in Brussels, but chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Davis did not attend the start, underscoring low expectations for the talks.

This round of divorce discussions is the last before European leaders meet at a summit on October 19 to decide whether there is “sufficient progress” to move on to the trade talks that Britain desperately wants.

Brussels is particularly alarmed by the leadership crisis engulfing the British prime minister, who is facing a plot to oust her after a catastrophic, mishap-strewn speech at her Conservative Party’s conference.

The embattled May told the British parliament that she expects “leadership and flexibility” from the other 27 EU countries in the negotiations.

“As we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court. But I am optimistic we will receive a positive response,” May said.

But the European Commission roundly rejected May’s assertion that it was up to the EU 27 to take the initiative to advance the stalled talks.

“This is not exactly a ball game… but what I can remind you of is there is a clear sequencing to these talks and there has been so far no solution found on step one, which is the divorce proceedings,” the commission’s chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a press conference.

Also the European Union’s banking watchdog will publish guidance on new EU hubs and trading risks for lenders from Britain seeking a post-Brexit base in the bloc, its chairman said on Monday.

Banks in London are looking to open or expand hubs in the EU to ensure they can continue serving customers there after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Full Content: DW

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