BRUSSELS — The Latest on Britain’s talks to leave the European Union (all times local):
The British and Irish prime ministers have spoken together as they work to overcome a logjam in Brexit talks, but there is no sign of an imminent breakthrough.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s office says she and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar are “working hard to find a specific solution to the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland,” which have triggered a crisis in Britain’s divorce negotiations with the European Union.
An agreement on the Irish border was scuttled at the last minute Monday by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
EU leaders are due to decide at a summit next week whether Brexit talks can move on to a new phase.
May’s office said Wednesday that she and Varadkar “are committed to moving together to achieve a positive result” on the border, and look forward “to continuing relations as close neighbors and allies as the negotiations progress.”
The U.K. official shepherding Britain’s departure from the European Union says no formal assessments have been made on the economic impact of leaving the 28-nation bloc.
Brexit Secretary David Davis told a House of Commons committee on Wednesday that the nation should be prepared for a profound shift in the way the economy operates on a scale similar to that of the 2008 financial crisis.
He says that since Britain must prepare for a “paradigm change,” in the economy, any assessment in the automotive, aerospace financial services or other sectors would fail to be “informative.”
But the Brexit committee’s chair, Hilary Benn, described the decision as “rather strange” since authorities hope to renegotiate of Britain’s trade relations with the rest of Europe within weeks.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Brexit negotiations must not be held up by disputes over Irish borders and that the issue should be tackled in phase two of departure talks.
Johnson said Wednesday that “the best way to sort it out is to get onto the second phase of the negotiations, where all these difficult issues can be properly teased out, thrashed out, and solved.”
Britain and the EU came close Monday to agreeing on key divorce terms, including how to maintain an open Irish border after the U.K. — including Northern Ireland — leaves the EU.
But the agreement was scuttled at the last minute by a party that props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority government.
May will hold talks with top EU officials later Wednesday.