UK/EU Financial Services Industry Could Deal with 'Hard Brexit,' Says Official

European Council President Donald Tusk says both sides will suffer economically after Brexit More

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator warned Britain Tuesday against undercutting EU rules and regulations that underpin anything from social protections to food security when it leaves the bloc.

In his opening address to MEPs, Mr Juncker said: "Prime Minister May: give us some more clarity on how the United Kingdom sees its future relationship with the European Union".

The EU and Britain are hoping to seal a deal this month on a transition period after Brexit this spring.

Barnier lauded the rules the European Union created together with Britain for 44 years to create the "social market economy" that shelters citizens and workers from excesses of deregulation.

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Barnier also urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to speed up the Brexit negotiations and define her vision for the future relationship between the country and the 27 remaining member states.

European Parliament Coordinator for Brexit Guy Verhofstadt added: "In order to break the deadlock we now face, I believe it is important that the UK Government now seriously considers engaging with the European Parliament's proposal for an association agreement, as catered for by Article 217 of the EU Treaty".

"I would rather have preferred Britain not to have chose to leave the European Union, but anyone who leaves the European Union has to know, frankly, what this means", he said.

Britain, which played no formal role in drawing up the draft, objected to some of its contents, particularly a section on avoiding a hard Irish border which set out in detail proposals to keep Northern Ireland in a the EU's customs union.

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European Council president Donald Tusk has threatened to freeze Brexit talks, insisting that the sequence of negotiations must be "Ireland first".

That plan prompted furious reactions in London and Belfast. But Barnier said it dealt with the realities on the ground.

"After Brexit there is a big discontinuity in all the trade and services, but we still have a large market and it's supposed to be an interesting opportunity for all the financial institutions", Katainen said.

The European Commission is expecting to hear from the United States in the coming days how the European Union can avoid US import tariffs on steel and aluminum, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday.

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He said that as the clock counts down the UK's withdrawal from the European Union next year, it is time to translate speeches into treaties and that this was especially important for Ireland. That would be then translated into a mandate for Barnier to negotiate with London.

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