The clock is ticking, EU warns Britain of poor Brexit progress

Brexit - UK seeking previously unthought of 'third way' around the Northern Ireland customs border impasse

Carwyn Jones said he cannot see how "an open border on the island of Ireland" can be maintained without some form of a UK-EU customs union. It expresses concern that post Brexit, European Union nationals who want to work in the country will face the same inflexible "caps" or numerical curbs that non-EU nationals already face, which would only serve to worsen existing skill shortages.

It is discussing two potential options that have divided cabinet members.

Giving evidence to the National Assembly's Brexit Committee on Monday, the first minister said the UK government produced a paper at a recent meeting with Welsh and Scottish ministers on their role in developing the UK Brexit negotiating position. "Because as I have often said, the clock is ticking".

The backstop, a fallback position or guarantee that there will be no infrastructure on the Border and commitment by the United Kingdom to maintaining North-South regulatory alignment, is part of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement that is supposed to be finalised by October.

Mr Barnier said there had been "misunderstandings" in the coverage of the story, adding: "We are not kicking the United Kingdom out of Galileo".

United Kingdom ministers are now considering setting up a rival version.

He said: "It's vitally important for them to be able to keep us and Scotland on board".


"Michel Barnier has made it very clear, and I agree with him, that there will be no withdrawal treaty if there isn't a backstop dealing with the Irish border in that treaty", he said.

But the first minister said he does not believe the United Kingdom government's options were compatible with Downing Street's desire to continue without a hard border in Ireland.

As reported by the Independent, the renewed deadlock in Brussels comes as Theresa May's cabinet repeatedly fails to agree with itself on what customs arrangement it wants with the European Union after Brexit, despite publishing two options in August of previous year.

"I think nobody must underestimate the key rendezvous of June", France's Barnier told a security conference in Brussels.

"I just cannot see how the United Kingdom being outside the customs union can possibly work with an open border on the island of Ireland".

As per the current policies, United Kingdom companies can bring in employees from other European Union countries without the bureaucratic red tape that's in place for a worker they hire from outside the bloc. "What is worrying us in particular is the Northern Ireland question where we expect a substantial accommodation from the British side".

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