'The clock is ticking', European Union tells Brexit Britain

'The clock is ticking', European Union tells Brexit Britain

"We need something more real", Linde was quoted by the TT newswire as saying after the meeting.

"If Brussels or Dublin insist upon rejecting all the practical approaches that we propose it is, with regret, that we will have to graciously accept their rejection", he added.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, yesterday told ministers from the remaining 27 member states that "little progress" had been made on the issues of Ireland and governance since the council last met in March.

At home, May is stuck between a rock and a hard place with staunch Brexit supporters pushing to sever ties with the European Union and others advocating keeping close customs cooperation with the bloc to reduce frictions in future trade. Earlier this month, Theresa May's government presented two proposals on post-Brexit trade. Miliband joined former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Conservative legislator Nicky Morgan to urge a soft Brexit that keeps Britain in the EU's single market. Under a second idea, for a streamlined customs arrangement, traders on an approved list would be able to cross borders freely with the aid of automated technology.

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Both sides worry that reinstating a physical border between EU-member Ireland and Britain's province of Northern Ireland - including to manage customs - could revive violence there.

Brussels has set the tight timeline so that a full divorce agreement can be tabled by October, to give the European and British parliaments time to ratify it by the day Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, 2019. Allow me to repeat myself: "we are not there yet", Barnier said on Monday, adding the outstanding issues, including the Irish border conundrum, were "very serious".

Barnier's statement has come before a government Brexit meeting, called by the British Prime Minister on May 15.

European Union leaders agreed at the March summit on a post-Brexit transition period lasting until the end of 2020, during which Britain will remain in the EU's common market in exchange for following European Union rules without any voting rights.

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