• 14:42
  • 23.09.2019
EU chief urges UK to change on Brexit
politics
23.09.2019

EU chief urges UK to change on Brexit

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European Union Council President Donald Tusk has urged Britain to change its mind about leaving the bloc next year, as time to conclude a Brexit agreement runs short.

"If the UK government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality, with all its negative consequences, in March next year unless there is a change of heart among our British friends," Tusk told EU MPs Tuesday in Strasbourg, France.

Tusk, who chairs summits of EU leaders and speaks on their behalf, quoted UK Brexit envoy David Davis as saying that "if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy."
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"We here on the continent haven't had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open to you," Tusk said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker added: "I hope that will be heard clearly in London."

Britain is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but negotiations on its departure and future EU-UK relations must be concluded by October to leave parliaments time to ratify any agreement.
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Brexit talks have progressed painfully slowly, and while the EU says it's ready to discuss future ties with London, leaders are still seeking more details about how Prime Minister Theresa May's government sees those links.

"What we need today is more clarity on the UK's vision," Tusk said. ""The hardest work is still ahead of us and time is limited."

Negotiations are continuing on a transition period that would help ease Britain out of the bloc next year. The EU is insisting on less than two years, until the end of 2020 - when the Union's current long-term budget period ends.
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Britain will not be able to conclude a trade deal with the EU or any other country until that period is over.
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