British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that Britain and European countries need to step up cooperation in cyber security. They had been expected to do just that on October 19-20 at their next summit, but Barnier's assessment indicated the tentative deadline will be missed. Two years have been set aside for the Brexit talks and Britain risks crashing out of the 28-state bloc on March 29, 2019, without a deal on future trade terms. "At the end of this week I am saying that that there will be no sufficient progress from now until October unless miracles would happen", he told reporters at the summit in Tallinn.
His words were echoed by other leaders, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also saying both sides would need "a small miracle" to make the required progress before the October summit. "Millions more work in the public and private sectors delivering public services and making a vital contribution to our economy", they said. It has demanded that "sufficient progress" be made on issues relating to the UK's withdrawal - including the rights of European Union citizens, the divorce bill and the Northern Irish border - before they can move on to trade.
Christian Kern, the Austrian chancellor, said he was pleased May had made clear to fellow leaders during a dinner in Tallinn on Thursday night that she was "not leaving Europe but the European Union and is willing to cooperate".
In a speech in Florence last week, May sought to re-set the tone of talks and nudge them forward, after they all but stalled over the divorce settlement, especially over the so-called Brexit bill.
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, insisted that Britain would have to pay all its share of money earmarked for European funds after Brexit.More news: U.S. slaps sanctions on 8 North Korean banks
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"For the European Union, the only way to reach sufficient progress is that all commitments undertaken by the 28 are honored by the 28", Barnier said.
"Nato remains the bedrock of our collective security and there is no clearer demonstration of the UK's unconditional commitment to Europe's defence than the 800 British troops now in Tapa, leading a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation battlegroup and standing shoulder to shoulder with their Estonian, French and, soon, their Danish counterparts too".
By focusing on defence, May wants to show that Britain has something to offer its European neighbours. Theresa May's conference speech a year ago was enough to send the pound tumbling as her words on "citizens of nowhere" hinted at a diamond hard Brexit.
"A week ago I gave a speech in Florence which set out how we have made good progress so far, I thought we could make further progress and moving on to looking at the future deep and special relationship and partnership that we want to build with the European Union when the United Kingdom has left the EU", she said after meeting the British troops.
"As we prepare for Brexit, I want to build a bold, new security partnership with the EU".