BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the Brexit talks (all times local):
The leader of Britain’s Labour Party wants Prime Minister Theresa May to provide more “clarity” about an alleged breakthrough deal in Brexit negotiations with the European Union.
Jeremy Corbyn reiterated Friday that his opposition party supports “tariff-free” trade with the EU once Britain leaves the bloc and said he does not have enough information about the deal’s regulatory framework.
Corbyn spoke to reporters while in Geneva for a United Nations panel. May’s reached an agreement with the EU overnight on the issue of Irish borders, which had stalled negotiations on other Brexit topics.
The Labour leader said he couldn’t consider the deal a breakthrough — as some European leaders have claimed — “until I see more of it.”
He added: “It doesn’t change our position in any way” on Brexit.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s says that the deal between Britain and the European Union does not change the fact that it might downgrade Britain’s sovereign debt grade.
S&P has a negative outlook for Britain’s debt, and said Friday that would not change despite Friday’s deal, which will allow Britain and the EU to move on from discussing divorce issues to the key topic of trade.
The agency noted in a report Friday that “many issues are yet to be fully resolved.” S&P also says that the country’s debt grade is challenged by a slowing economy, a lack of a parliamentary majority for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party, and a lack of consensus within the government on what Britain’s relationship with the EU should ultimately be.
Spain’s prime minister has applauded the agreement reached by European Union and British leaders to advance the U.K.’s divorce from the continental bloc.
Mariano Rajoy says that the deal “eliminates the risk of a traumatic break that could have very negative consequences.”
Rajoy told Spanish media in the northeastern city of Lleida that “I congratulate those involved in the negotiation. because their efforts serve to minimize the costs of the breakup.”
The German government is welcoming the interim Brexit agreement between Britain and the European Union’s executive Commission as a step forward, but is cautioning that the second phase of talks will be “highly complex.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, gave a guarded initial response to Friday’s deal. He told reporters the joint progress report by the EU and Britain “is a step forward in the negotiations from our point of view, and now we will examine this report carefully.”
EU leaders are expected to approve next week progressing to the second stage of talks about trade.
Seibert said: “It certainly won’t be the case that we face the next decisions within a few weeks — what will begin is what will certainly be a highly complex second phase of negotiations, in which Germany will of course make clear its positions.”
France’s foreign minister is cautiously welcoming the announcement of a long-awaited breakthrough in talks on Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Jean-Yves Le Drian said on France-Inter radio Friday that work on the Brexit negotiations “is progressively reaching a positive outcome” but said the conditions of Britain’s departure still need to be “clearly defined.”
Le Drian spoke after British, Irish and EU officials clinched a deal on the divorce preconditions earlier Friday.
Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament’s president, says he’s “sufficiently optimistic” after a breakthrough in talks on Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Antonio Tajani said after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that British Prime Minister Theresa May called him to convey the “recent positive developments” in Brexit talks.
Tajani said the European Parliament will take a position on the negotiations in a vote next week. A resolution will first be presented to EU heads of state who will determine whether the progress made is “satisfactory and whether the second phase of the process can begin.”
He said the deal reached earlier appears to be a good start to “difficult and complicated” negotiations.
Germany’s main business lobby group says it’s relieved that Brexit talks have cleared the first hurdle but is warning that the toughest part lies ahead and calling for negotiations to speed up.
Joachim Lang, a top official with the Federation of German Industries, or BDI, said Friday that German businesses were “relieved about the breakthrough.”
He warned that “the most difficult part of the negotiations lies ahead of us” and businesses need clarity “as quickly as possible” about future relations between the European Union and Britain.
Lang said that “the negotiations must now pick up speed. London must not indulge in illusions — our companies need to know quickly what model Downing Street sees for a future agreement and what the transition phase should look like.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he is disappointed by parts of the deal that Prime Minister Theresa May struck with the European Union, but that she did what is necessary to get to the next stage of Brexit talks.
Khan says the government must accelerate progress to avoid further delays. He says it is critical that business leaders gain clarity on any interim plans to prevent companies from putting contingency plans in place to leave.
Khan says he welcomed the decisions on the rights of EU citizens living in the U.K. but says it is “extremely disappointing” that Britain will leave the single market and customs union.
Khan says that “despite the progress today, it looks increasingly unlikely that we will get a deal that works in London’s best interests and protects jobs and growth across Britain.”
Pro-Brexit British politician Nigel Farage says the European Union has gotten the better of Britain in divorce negotiations.
Farage, a European Parliament lawmaker for the U.K. Independence Party, tweeted that a deal announced Friday in Brussels “is good news for Mrs. May as we can now move on to the next stage of humiliation.”
Other British Brexit supporters say they will study details of the deal agreed with the bloc before responding.
And pro-Brexit Justice Secretary Michael Gove praised May, saying the deal was a “significant achievement” for her.
The pound has rallied on news of a breakthrough in the Brexit talks.
The currency rose early Friday morning as British Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Brussels to announce a compromise solution that appears to satisfy EU officials’ terms on Britain’s exit issues. Those include the financial exit bill, citizens’ rights and — thorniest of all — how to manage the border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and the EU’s Republic of Ireland.
The pound rose to $1.3492 from around $1.3380 a day earlier.
The breakthrough means Britain and the EU are likely to move the talks on to the question of future relations, like trade. That is a key concern for businesses, who want to know how to plan for the future.
Ireland’s prime minister has described the Britain’s Brexit agreement with the European Union as a step in the right direction and a significant day for his country.
Leo Varadkar told reporters Friday after the deal was announced that “this is not the end but it is the end of the beginning.”
Disagreements over rules governing the border between the Republic of Ireland, which is a member of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., derailed an earlier proposal. Friday’s agreement doesn’t offer details on how the issue will be solved.
The deal pledges that whatever happens, the U.K. will maintain “full regulatory alignment” with the bloc on issues affecting Ireland. But it’s not immediately clear how that passage will be interpreted.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has welcomed a breakthrough in negotiations on Britain’s departure but says “there is still work to be done.”
Michel Barnier said Friday that “the progress achieved today is sufficient to move to the next phase” in the negotiations.
He said the agreement reached early Friday by Britain, Ireland and EU officials is “precise and detailed” and if it’s approved by EU leaders at a summit next week then it “could be the basis for the withdrawal agreement.”
Barnier warned, however, that more work remains “on a number of issues.”
European Council President Donald Tusk says the European Union and Britain must now start negotiating a transition period for Britain to ease its way out of the bloc in 2019.
Tusk said Friday that the transition period should be a negotiating priority. While he noted that Britain has asked for a two-year bridging period, he laid out conditions for that to happen.
He said that “during this period the U.K. will respect the whole of EU law, including new law. It will respect budget commitments, it will respect judicial oversight and of course all related obligations.”
Tusk also said he has sent guidelines to EU leaders on how he thinks Brexit talks should be handled after Britain, Ireland and EU officials clinched a deal on the divorce preconditions earlier Friday.
British business groups are expressing relief that Brexit talks look set to start discussing the future shape of trade and economic relations between the U.K. and the European Union.
The EU says an agreement on key divorce terms fulfills its requirement for “sufficient progress” before the talks can move on to a second phase. EU leaders look set to approve the move at a summit next week.
Businesses have been clamoring for details on what the relationship between Britain and the EU will be after Brexit in March 2019. Some companies have been putting off investment in Britain or making plans to move jobs out of the country.
Stephen Martin, who heads U.K. business group the Institute of Directors, said “it went right down to the wire, but businesses will be breathing a huge sigh of relief.”
Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, says that “after the noise and political brinksmanship of recent days, news of a breakthrough in the negotiations will be warmly welcomed by companies across the U.K.”
The Northern Ireland party that has been holding up a deal between the U.K. and the EU over the Irish border says it’s now satisfied with the agreement.
The Democratic Unionist Party scuttled a deal at the last minute earlier this week, saying it wouldn’t support a deal it saw as undermining Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom by treating it as a special case.
The party props up May’s government in Parliament, leaving her little choice but to try to get it onside.
Britain and the EU announced Friday they had sealed a reworded agreement.
DUP leader Arlene Foster said the agreement gave “very clear confirmation that the entirety of the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May says an agreement between Britain and the European Union guarantees the rights of 3 million EU citizens in the U.K. and 1 million Britons elsewhere in the bloc.
She also says it ensures there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.
She says Northern Ireland has “a set of unique circumstances” because it has the U.K.’s only land border with an EU country.
The border issue has been threatening to derail the divorce talks.
Earlier this week, a Northern Ireland party that propped up May’s government scuttled a deal between the U.K and the bloc, prompting frantic diplomacy.
May said Friday that the agreement would maintain an open border while preserving the constitutional and economic integrity of the U.K.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is lauding a breakthrough in Brexit talks and says he will recommend that negotiations be broadened to future relations and trade.
Juncker told reporters Friday that “I believe that we have now made the breakthrough that we needed.”
He said that he would recommend to European Union leaders that “sufficient progress has been achieved” on the terms of the divorce to starting talking about issues like future relations and trade.
EU leaders meet in Brussels next Thursday and are likely to endorse the assessment that enough progress has been made on the terms of Britain’s financial settlement, the status of Irish borders and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting with top European Union officials to make a final push to expand talks on her country leaving the bloc to the vital issues of future relations and trade.
May arrived in Brussels early Friday to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, after a round of overnight telephone calls appeared to have clinched a breakthrough on the issue of Irish borders.
May’s EU partners insist that the talks must make “sufficient progress” on Britain’s financial settlement, a way to keep open Northern Ireland’s border with Ireland and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit.
They meet in Brussels in a week to decide whether enough ground has been made to broaden the talks to future relations and trade, as Britain so badly wants.