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Principale » Brexit : Britain can stay in European Union but perks will end - Verhofstadt

Brexit : Britain can stay in European Union but perks will end - Verhofstadt

18 Juin 2017

The prime minister has been holding talks with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, keen to get the backing of their 10 lawmakers in parliament to help her pass laws and govern as Britain starts talks to leave the European Union.

The EU will keep the door open for Britain to return, but only on worse terms than it now has, European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said Wednesday.

Northern Ireland's largest nationalist party would oppose any deal their main unionist rival strikes to prop up British Prime Minister Theresa May that undermines peace in the province but would welcome the increased funding it may bring.

The start of parliament has been delayed since last Thursday's election, a gamble May took to strengthen her hand in talks to leave the European Union but which has left her scrambling for a deal with the eurosceptic DUP to keep her in power.

Although talks are said to have gone well, the fire tragedy in London, has delayed a deal being signed.

The proposed deal would see the DUP back the Conservatives in votes on the Budget and on any confidence motion while other matters would be negotiated on an issue-by-issue basis.

Britain's Conservative Party is in a very hard position now (Deal to keep Tories in power not done yet; June 12).

But a newly appointed junior Brexit minister, Steve Baker, told Reuters: "I don't foresee any change".

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As European leaders tried to fathom exactly how Britain would begin the negotiations, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he wanted a Brexit deal that would limit negative consequences for the bloc but nor did it want to weaken Britain.

Ms May has not yet responded to a proposal from some Conservatives for business groups and MPs from all parties to agree a national position on Brexit.

The European Parliament, which named former Belgian prime minister Verhofstadt as its Brexit pointman previous year, will have the final say on any deal on Britain's exit from the EU.

Yet many of her lawmakers and party members favour a sharp break with the European Union - a sign of the divisions over Europe that helped sink the premierships of May's predecessors Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Cameron.

Sinn Fein, which won seven seats in the British parliament last week but does not take up its seats or vote in Westminster, would likely reject a deal to form a government by refusing to work with the DUP in Northern Ireland.

The nationalist Sinn Fein and SDLP and the cross-community Alliance have all made clear Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire can not chair the ongoing process to restore power-sharing at Stormont due to the perceived conflict of interest.

The DUP is believed to be more favourable to a "soft Brexit" that would keep Northern Ireland's border with the Republic of Ireland free-flowing.