What is blocking the Brexit talks?

Shortly before the EU summit on October 19 and 20, negotiators from Britain and the EU are meeting in Brussels for the fifth round of Brexit talks. Commentators call on Brussels to abandon its stubborn stance and stop blocking the negotiations. Others discuss the merits of calls for a new referendum.

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The Times (GB) /

EU has no reason to be so stubborn

Brussels should yield in the row over the order of negotiating points, the Times argues:

“The EU has good reasons to talk about transition. First, delay will stoke uncertainty for businesses. Second, some issues earmarked for the withdrawal deal, such as the Irish border, can only be settled once there is clarity about what happens to trade in March 2019. Third, Mrs May promised in her Florence speech that the UK would pay its dues, and continue sending money to Brussels for some time after exit. The EU can be assured that there will be no hole in the budget.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Only parliament has the right to stop Brexit

A new referendum on the conditions of Brexit as called for by the Liberal Democrats would harm British democracy, the Irish Times warns:

“Resorting to a second referendum would confirm the sovereignty, not of the British Parliament, but of referendums. ... Turmoil inside the Tory party and Labour's rise in the opinion polls have raised hope that Brexit may be halted if the settlement on offer from the EU turns out to be clearly seen to be detrimental to the UK's vital interests. But this would have to be a decision of parliament, and that would mean a reawakening among members of both main parties of their responsibility, as MPs, to use their own judgment and not hide behind a referendum.”