Next Week, Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to Italy to deliver a major speech on Brexit in what is being dubbed by Downing Street as a greatly important moment in negotiations.On Friday, September 22, May will address the world’s media in the historic city of Florence “to update on Brexit negotiations so far,” said a Downing Street spokesperson on Wednesday.
On Friday, September 22, May will address the world’s media in the historic city of Florence “to update on Brexit negotiations so far,” said a Downing Street spokesperson on Wednesday.
The Keynote speech will occur six months on from when May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and just one week before the Conservative Party will convene in Manchester for its highly-anticipated annual conference.
The prime minister will make use of the speech so that she can “underline the government’s wish for a deep and special partnership with the European Union once the UK leaves the EU,” added the spokesperson.
The spokesperson of May declined to further information on what the speech would include and whether it would contain any new details regarding the proposals. The spokesperson added: “The PM has said that she would provide updates on how the negotiations were going and be engaged in an ongoing conversation with Europe, and that’s what she’s doing.”
The news comes a week after the EU Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, claimed that the next round of Brexit discussions, originally scheduled to start this coming September 18, had been pushed back by a week in order to accommodate May’s intervention.
May’s spokesperson has dismissed reports that the speech of the prime minister was the reason for delay of the negotiations, stating: “Both sides have settled on the date for the next round, after discussions between senior officials, in recognition that more time and consultation would give negotiations a flexibility to make further progress.”
Florence was chosen by Prime Minister May as the venue for her upcoming speech as the PM “wanted to give a speech on the UK’s future relationship with Europe in its historical heart,” added her spokesperson.
“The UK has had deep cultural and economic ties spanning centuries with Florence, a city known for its historical trading power. As the UK leaves the EU, we will retain those close ties. As the prime minister has said on many occasions, we are leaving the EU, not Europe,” stated the spokesperson.
Figures in Brussels and in London will hope that the speech of PM May will help thaw the recent tensions between the two sides and encourage process on key issues that are currently preventing negotiations from going to the next stage.
British and the European Union negotiators are still yet to reach an agreement regarding the issues of the citizens’ rights, the Irish border, nd Britain’s financial obligations, or “divorce bill” as it is more commonly known. The European Union has insisted that talks on future relations cannot start until “sufficient progress” has been made on these particular issues.
At the end of August, Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator of EU, said that there are still no ‘decisive progress on any of the principle subjects’ aforementioned, while Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament’s Brexit spokesperson, said that the proposals put forward by the British side on these issues are “not serious, fair or even possible.”