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Saturday 24.08.2019 | Name days: Boļeslavs, Bērtulis
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Minister: results of European Council talks on Brexit are not surprising

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe fact that talks organized by the European Council regarding Britain’s exit and conditions have concluded with no real progress, is nothing surprising, says Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

This outcome is led on by statements released by EU and British leaders on 17 and 18 October. «These developments do not suggest we can expect any progress or breakthrough in talks. This became clear the moment both sides announced that disagreements remain on different points,» said the minister.

He believes there is still time to reach an agreement, and talks should be continued. At the same time, if no agreement is reached in the given time-frame, there are no reasons not to extend the time for talks. On Wednesday, the leader of European Commission’s group for Brexit talks Michel Barnier proposed extending the transition period, hoping to liven up the process, which has ended up in a dead end recently.

«If both sides cannot reach an agreement, the two-year period could be extended. But there will be point in that only if there is a possibility of reaching an agreement. Still, there are many details to consider. However, if it is not possible to reach an agreement for any political reasons then extending talks and running with speculations would not be the best possible solution,» said Rinkēvičs.

The foreign affairs minister reminded that it is in Latvia’s best interest for the agreement to be reached and maximum unity is preserved. Needless to say, Britain remains a very serious partner.

The special EU summit on Brexit will not be organized next month. This is because of insufficient progress in Brexit talks. EU leaders had previously agreed on organizing a special summit on Brexit in November. It was planned to discuss the conditions of Britain’s exit there.

Rinkēvičs also said that the summit is not off, because it was never announced to begin with. «If we announced another summit, there would be more expectations and pressure. Public announcement tend to put a lot of pressure on people engaged in talks and the process itself. Big expectations give birth to headlines regarding zero progress, increasing pressure even more. I would say this decision was the correct one in this context,» explains the minister, adding that time is still running out. The last moment for the agreement to be made is December.

He stresses that even if an agreement is reached, the situation cannot be considered resolved. «Any agreement can be reached, but if the British or European parliaments do not ratify it, we will have a different problem on our hands. An agreement for the sake of an agreement is no good, because the text has to be acceptable for both parliaments. Reaching ratification is not a simple matter, especially for Britain, which is currently deep in political fights. There is no point in organizing a summit for the sake of a summit,» said the minister.


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