BRUSSELS - The European Union’s chief negotiator urged Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday to come up with “workable” proposals for Brexit and overcome “huge and serious” differences to prevent Britain from crashing out of the bloc without a deal.
On the second day of a summit more focused on migration than Brexit, leaders of the other 27 EU countries discussed Britain’s departure without May, united in turning up the pressure on a leader to overcome rifts in her government and move forward.
May has so far been reluctant to spell out detailed Brexit plans because of deep divisions in her ruling Conservative Party and government over the terms of Britain’s biggest foreign policy shift in almost half a century.
But she has promised to thrash out an agreement with her top team of ministers at a meeting next week and intends to present a policy document, or white paper, setting out the government’s aims for a future partnership after that.
With only nine months to go before Britain leave the EU, it cannot come too soon for chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
“We want a deal and (are) working for a deal. The time is short,” Barnier told reporters.
“Now we are waiting for the UK white paper and I hope it will contain workable and realistic proposals. But let me mention once again that the time is very short.”
The white paper will set out Britain’s vision for its future relationship with the EU, something that has hobbled attempts to settle a divorce agreement especially over pledges on both side to prevent a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.(FA)