BREXIT LIVE: Brussels fires angry warning to UK over market access – NO special treatment

The EU’s financial services chief Valdis Dombrovskis warned market access should never be taken for granted, with Brussels toughening assessments of whether countries meet the conditions.

a484e44c-cedd-422e-87c7-3520c5bce8fb

He said: “We see that there is a need to strengthen systemic monitoring of continued compliance. So this is one area where we will come with a more systematic approach.”

This comes after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said exit talks are unlikely to meet an October deadline set by the European Council.

UK ministers have leapt into action for emergency talks after the Frenchman revealed he and BrexitSecretary Dominic Raab are yet to fully resolve the Irish backstop, outstanding withdrawal agreement issues and a political declaration on the future relationship.

Michel Barnier met with Mr Raab in Brussels yesterday and told a press conference: “If you count backwards from that date, March 30 2019, the day on which the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union – while remaining for 21 months, if we reach an agreement, in the single market, customs union and European policies – the countdown backwards from there has to take account of the time which is necessary for ratification.

“That is a given, it will take a certain amount of time to ratify the agreement – on the UK side and the European side.

“That takes us for a final agreement on the withdrawal agreement and political declaration well before the end of the year – I’m not going to say October, a few days here, the beginning of November, but not much later than that.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark held urgent talks with officials in Dublin easier this month on an emergency agreement around Northern Ireland in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Downing Street wants to avoid publishing plans for a worst-case scenario that would include importing thousands of generators north of the border.

The electricity industry has operated a single wholesale market across the island of Ireland since 2007 but is underpinned by EU law and without legal clarity, Northern Ireland could be left short of supplies in the event of a messy Brexit divorce.

But the energy issue will not be among those covered by Mr Raab in Westminster tomorrow, with ministers given more time to draft less drastic contingency measures.

He will brief Westminster on Thursday on more than 80 UK no-deal preparedness notices, aimed at helping businesses and citizens in case Britain crashes out of the EU without an agreement.

3.20pm: Scotland’s Brexit minister claims Westminster ‘has no mandate’ to deliver hard exit

Scottish National Party MP Mike Russell has insisted Theresa May’s Government has lost its mandate to take the UK out of the European Union.

Mike Russell said ministers in Westminster should urgently reconsider any plans which could see Britain exit the bloc without a deal.

Speaking on Monday, he said the Brexit process had “deteriorated substantially” in recent months and warned urgent action was needed to prevent economic disaster.

He said: “There is, however, there was a mandate on the UK level for what is taking place, no longer a mandate.

“Whatever that mandate was for it was not explicitly for the hardest and most damaging form of Brexit, which is what we appear to be heading towards.”

Harvey Gavin taking over from Paul Withers on live reporting.

1.30pm update: Brussels warns UK over market access and that it won’t receive special treatment

Brussels has fired a warning to the UK that it will be strict in policing rights of access to the EU’s market after Brexit.

The EU’s financial services chief Valdis Dombrovskis said he welcomed UK plans to build market access for the City of London around EU rules.

But he warned market access should never be taken for granted, with Brussels toughening assessments of whether countries meet the conditions.

Mr Dombrovskis added Brussels would not offer the UK any “super equivalence”, and assessments over whether it qualified would require individual tests “sector by sector and legislation by legislation”.

He said: “We see that there is a need to strengthen systemic monitoring of continued compliance.

“So this is one area where we will come with a more systematic approach.”

12.35pm update: Brexit is a “real and present danger” for Scotland and Britain’s economy

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has described Brexit as a “real and present danger” for Scotland and Britain’s economy.

Her comments were made after Scotland’s budget deficit shrank in the last financial year to its loweest since 2012 but remained far larger in percentage terms than that of the UK as a whole.

The Scottish government data showed the net fiscal deficit fell to £13.4bn in the 2017/18 tax year from £14.5bn the year before, helped by stronger North Sea oil and gas revenues.

As a percentage of GDP, the deficit fell from 8/9 percent to 7.9 percent but still significantly above UK as a whole, where public sector borrowing was 1.9 percent of GDP in 2017/18.

Ms Sturgeon said: “With the limited economic powers currently at our disposal, the actions we are taking to promote sustainable economic development are helping to ensure that the key economic indicators are moving in the right direction.

“Brexit is by far the biggest threat to this progress – and it is essential that the UK Government commits to remaining in the single market and the Customs Union to minimise the potential damage.”