LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The European Union’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday British Prime Minister Theresa should endorse a permanent customs union with the bloc — as proposed by the opposition Labour party — to break the impasse over their looming divorce.
EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier walks at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Barnier told a news conference in Luxembourg that time was “extremely short” to conclude a deal before Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29.
The EU is urging May to work with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to unlock ratification of the withdrawal agreement she negotiated with Brussels. British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected the deal, agreed in November, in a vote last month, leaving Britain on course for an abrupt Brexit with no transition period to minimise expected economic disruption.
“I found Corbyn’s letter interesting in tone and in content,” Barnier said of the Labour leader’s Brexit proposals, sent to May. “Something has to give on the British side.”
In a reply to Corbyn published by May’s office late on Sunday, she rejected the idea of a customs union, saying Britain must be able to stri