EU rules out UK's Brexit customs proposal

EU rules out UK's Brexit customs proposal

The Prime Minister will discuss her plan for leaving the European Union with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Czech counterpart Andrej Babis as she seeks to build alliances as the clock ticks down to the March 2019 Brexit date.

"The EU can not and will not delegate the application of its customs policy and rules, Value-Added Tax and duty collection to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU governance structures", he insisted.

Barnier even suggested one way out of the impasse would be for the United Kingdom to stay inside the EU customs union, though that would enrage parts of her Conservative Party and mean May having to renege on her repeated promises to leave it.

Mr Barnier offered her a potentially inflammatory alternative: stay inside the EU's existing customs union.

However, Barnier said he believes British negotiators he met in Brussels on Thursday "understood our concerns" about the border between European Union member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

The Chequers agreement has been studied "carefully" and there are some areas of "common ground", he said.

"We may be able to accept delays for some goods crossing borders, but that is simply not acceptable for medicines and other materials on which patients rely every day".

Speaking on Thursday at the same press conference, Mr Barnier re-stated that the EU's single market and its four freedoms were indivisible and could not be cherry-picked.

"This is our main asset".

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But the most important negotiations have virtually stalled with just 12 weeks to go before a self-imposed October deadline to reach a divorce agreement.

Brexit campaigners say increased government warnings over what a no-deal Brexit could look like, including preparations to stockpile goods, represent an attempt to scare people into backing May's plans. "I would hope and I think that what we will see actually is a recognition from those who are looking to procure of the benefits of procurement here". It has expired. It has ceased to be.

"Once again the chaos and confusion at the heart of Brexit is exposed".

"Now we know that hardly mattered because it was not acceptable to the European Union in any case".

"What the prime minister means is that she meant all along that the overall strategy and conduct of these negotiations she regards very much as her personal responsibility now with the secretary of state very close at hand", he said.

"It is therefore no surprise that momentum is shifting towards giving the people the final say on the deal, and an opportunity to exit from Brexit".

A Guardian/ICM poll found she had an eight-point lead over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over who could be trusted to negotiate a good Brexit deal, down from 16 points in January and 34 points before the 2017 general election.

Niall Dickson, co-chair of the Brexit Health Alliance, which includes the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the NHS Confederation and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry among its members, said the government must now reveal all contingency plans that are being drawn up.

Theresa May today spoke of the importance of the Northern Powerhouse project as she prepared to hold her Cabinet in the North-East for the first time.