Bosses ask May to speed up Brexit talks

Bosses ask May to speed up Brexit talks

LONDON - The Associated Press
Bosses ask May to speed up Brexit talks

Business leaders from both sides of the English Channel urged Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday to accelerate talks on Britain’s exit from the European Union as uncertainty about future trade relations threatens jobs and investment.

European business leaders are urging Britain to make concrete proposals on the so-called divorce issues so the negotiations can move forward. The EU has refused to discuss trade until there is agreement on Britain’s financial obligations, citizens’ rights and the Irish border.

Industry groups from Germany, France, Britain and other EU countries deployed representatives to London amid concern that time is running out to ensure more than 550 billion pounds ($719 billion) of trade keeps flowing smoothly after the U.K. leaves the bloc in March 2019. They want a transitional period during which Britain would remain in the European single market and customs union so companies could adjust to the new relationship after Brexit.

“Business is extremely concerned with the slow pace of negotiations and the lack of progress,” said Emma Marcegaglia, president of BusinessEurope, an umbrella organization of business lobbies.

“Business aims to avoid a cliff edge and therefore asks for a “status quo - like” transitional arrangement with the U.K. staying in the customs union and the single market as this will best provide citizens and businesses with greater certainty.”

Tensions within May’s own government may make it difficult for the prime minister to deliver on her vision.