United Kingdom could join reconfigurated European Union in future: minister

20 January, 2018, 04:16 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Sammy Wilson Brexit spokesman for the Democratic Unionist Party's 10 MPs in Westminster | Leon Neal  AFP via Getty Images

"We shouldn't tell them to do that or put any pressure or expectation in any way, I think that would actually be counterproductive", he said.

EU President Donald Tusk began the charm offensive, saying that the bloc's "hearts are open" to Britain changing its mind.

"Maybe, just maybe, we should have a second referendum on European Union membership". They're desperate for a second referendum.

His comments came after Varadkar said in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday that the United Kingdom could not "backslide" on commitments on the Irish border made in the first phase of Brexit negotiations.

Varadkar meanwhile warned Britain against "backsliding" on commitments that it made in a provisional deal in December to prevent the return of a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland. "And maybe some activities carried out in London no longer become efficient, and rather than moving to the continent, they just go back to NY or somewhere else, or maybe they don't happen at all".

On the EU budget, Varadkar said that as a net contributor, Ireland supports maintaining the structural funds to eastern and central Europe, the common agriculture fund, Erasmus, funding for research and the European Investment Bank.

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She said the number of finance job moves as a result of Brexit are likely to be at the lower end of estimates ranging from 5,000 to 75,000 jobs, with the government keen to preserve the industry's standing.

Addressing the press in Stormont after the announcement of a new set of talks, MLA Simon Hamilton added: "Sammy is never shy about telling you what he thinks. I don't think there is a cunning grand plan behind it all", Cleppe, head of the Brussels office for the think-tank Open Europe, told AFP.

Data sourced by Nature a year ago found that researchers applying for EU-funded Marie Curie fellowships in the United Kingdom had dipped slightly since the Brexit vote, but there was no evidence of a sharp decline.

A majority of Britons believe that the country was right to vote for Brexit for the first time in six months. They are due to start talks in February on a post-Brexit transition period, and in April on future ties, including a trade deal, but much remains to be thrashed out.

After reaching a deal on the key separation issues in December, Britain is due to start talks with the European Union this month on a transition deal before moving on to the future relationship.

Some EU leaders have pushed Mr Barnier to admit Britain could be offered a "tailor-made" deal with the UK.


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