EU chief urges UK to speed up Brexit negotiations


AP, Brussels :
The European Union's executive branch is calling on British Prime Minister Theresa May to speed up negotiations on how to leave the bloc and define its future relationship with the 27 remaining member states.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told EU legislators Tuesday that "there is increasing urgency to negotiate this orderly withdrawal," showing frustration May had yet to clearly outline what she wanted once Britain leaves the bloc in March next year.
Juncker said the EU needs "further clarity" on such issues like a trading relationship and the EU's only land border with the U.K. on the island of Ireland.
The European Parliament's chief Brexit official, Guy Verhofstadt said that in three keynote addresses, May "is mainly repeating the red lines that we know already for two years."
Jean-Claude Juncker has dashed remainers' hopes of a second Brexit referendum and warned EU countries they will have to pay extra billions to plug the hole left by the UK leaving.
The European Commission president told a conference of EU officials and national ministers "not to believe" politicians such as Tony Blair or Sir Nick Clegg who are campaigning to reverse the 2016 vote.
"I don't think Brexit can be put to the voters again. I don't believe it," he said. Mr Juncker, 63, warned that when Britain left, national contributions for the EU's 27 remaining countries would have to rise to fill a shortfall of more than €18 billion annually, based on this year's spending figures.
Speeches made about the future relationship between Britain and the European Union needed to be translated into treaties and agreements as soon as possible, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday.
"It is obvious that we need further clarity from the UK if we are to reach an understanding on our future relationship," Juncker told a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.