Britain hits back at 'not helpful' EU fantasy comments

Hammond was reacting to comments by a senior EU official on Thursday who said that negotiations this week showed Britain still had not accepted the consequences of its decision to leave.

Britain hits back at 'not helpful' EU fantasy comments

World Bulletin / News Desk

British finance minister Philip Hammond hit back at EU remarks dismissing London's Brexit plans as "fantasy" but admitted that the talks needed to make progress.

"We're having very constructive discussions. I don't think that's a particularly helpful comment," Hammond told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with EU counterparts in Brussels.

"There are obviously a wide range of views on both sides. But everybody that I've engaged with has been very constructive, very keen to find a way to move forward," said Hammond, who was also at the European Commission for talks on Thursday night.

Hammond added: "We are very conscious of the ticking clock, and the need to make significant progress for the June European Council. Thats what we are here to do."

Brussels has said there needs to be progress on the key issue of the future of the Irish border by the June 28-29 EU summit in order to get a Brexit deal by the time Britain leaves in March 2019.

But the senior EU official involved in the talks told reporters on condition of anonymity on Thursday that progress on the issue seemed "elusive".

"We have to do away with the fantasy that there is an all-UK solution" of Britain staying in the EU's customs union to avoid a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, the official said.

Talks are also stuck over the EU's refusal to let Britain remain in the Galileo satellite navigation system after Brexit. 

"If that proves impossible, then Britain will have to go it alone, possibly with other partners outside europe and the US to build a... competing system," Hammond said.

Britain has also said it may reopen talks on the Brexit divorce bill to seek compensation if excluded from the programme.

Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2018, 12:45
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