Britain will build own satellite system if no access to EU's: Hammond

26 May, 2018, 13:42 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Daniel Hannan slammed BBC Newsnight host Evan Davis

The EU wants the United Kingdom to agree by a European council summit in June to present a workable backstop position for Northern Ireland that would come into force should a future trade deal or bespoke technological solutions fail to arise that could avoid the need for a hard border.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has asked for work to be done on both customs models, that work is ongoing and therefore any speculation about implementation is just that".

The UK can not accept such a decision, Mr Hammond told reporters while arriving in Brussels for a meeting of finance ministers yesterday.

If it proves impossible to remain in the project, Britain could either build its own rival satellite network, or work with other partners outside Europe and the USA, he said.

The official also said that the United Kingdom will start having to take responsibility for its decision and accept that Brexit will mean a looser relationship with the EU.

"We need access to a satellite system of this kind", Mr Hammond said.

He added: "Twenty-three months after the referendum and 14 months since the triggering of Article 50, we still don't know what the UK's future relationship with the European Union will be on trade, services, security, defence, consumer safety, data, broadcasting rights and many other things".

The sooner United Kingdom politicians move away from "fantasies", the sooner solutions could be found for the UK's departure from the European Union, a senior EU official warned on Thursday (25 May) after the latest round of Brexit talks yielded no significant progress.

On Thursday, the European Union accused British negotiators of "chasing a fantasy" and failing to get to grips with the consequences of Brexit. An EU official this week described some of the government's ideas as "fantasy", and warned that its ideas for the Irish border are unacceptable.

Daniel Hannan was a leading campaigner for vote leave during the EU referendum
BBCDaniel Hannan was a leading campaigner for vote leave during the EU referendum

The official said the cooperation on all these areas could continue but not in the same way as now and appealed to the United Kingdom government to change their negotiating stance.

In Brussels, meanwhile, the European Commission on Wednesday put forward its draft budget for 2019, counting in Britain's contribution, as anticipated.

"UK proposals for a deep relationship, calmly and professionally presented".

"It's time the chancellor came down to Earth, to prove he is on the same planet as the rest of us by recognising what he is putting people in our country through with his austerity cuts".

In her resignation statement Jenkyns, who backed Leave in the 2016 referendum, criticized the committee's recent reports, which she said were "unbalanced in favour of us either remaining in the EU, the customs union or delaying our departure".

There is unease among Brexiteers about the proposed "backstop" arrangement to keep the United Kingdom closely tied to European Union customs rules if alternative arrangements are not agreed with Brussels or able to be implemented.

The official said the United Kingdom has promised new ideas within the next two weeks, but sounded concerned about possible progress.

The government says it wants to maintain "frictionless" trade with no hard border in Northern Ireland after it leaves. "We're very keen to find a way to move forward and we're looking at all the options".

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