European Union leaders demand more clarity from United Kingdom on Brexit plans

Leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage surprisingly pushed the issue back onto the agenda last week when he said he was increasingly open to the idea of a new vote.

Mr Tusk quoted an anti-EU speech made by David Davis, the secretary of state for Brexit, over five years ago in which he said democracy ceases if parliament or voters are unable to reverse decisions.

Hammond told German weekly Welt am Sonntag in an interview published Saturday that those hoping London might do a U-turn on Brexit should "stop harking on about this illusion".

European Council President Mr Tusk said that EU "hearts are still open" to "our British friends" to remain in the bloc.

Some Farage critics say his sudden change of heart about a re-run vote can be explained by an nearly pathological need for the political limelight.

Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party urged lawmakers to back the government's Brexit legislation at a vote in parliament later on Wednesday, warning opponents that trying to block the plan would bring chaos.

Juncker meanwhile echoed Tusk's comments, which are far from Tusk's first suggestion that bloc would be open to Britain changing its mind and rejoining the European fold.

Farage argued on Thursday that another Brexit referendum would reinforce the pro-Leave position in a country split in half, but Remain backers said support for their position had grown and welcomed a call they believed could halt Brexit.

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The response is expected to come during a debate on Wednesday morning on the future of the European Union which will be addressed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and which will see Mr Varadkar questioned directly by Mr Farage on Ireland's Brexit strategy and own future in the EU.

Mr Tusk's comments came as a leaked European Commission paper suggested the EU is toughening its stance on the transition period after the official date of Brexit in March 2019.

Mr Umunna, a prominent supporter of the Open Britain group, added: "All I know is that members and supporters and voters expect to hear an alternative to the Brexit mantra of Theresa May, they don't expect to hear us echoing it".

"What we need today is more clarity on the UK's vision", the European Council President said.

"Working out how to justify this legally will be challenging - the United Kingdom will be a third country following Brexit, despite the transition, and to all extents and purposes no longer covered by the EU's FTAs - but I think doable", Lowe said.

He warned the "hardest work" still lies ahead with time fast running out."We must maintain the unity of the EU27 in every scenario, and personally I have no doubt that we will".

Britain is set to leave the European Union in March 2019 but the sides have agreed on principle to introduce a transition period expected to last for around two years.

According to revised draft negotiation directives obtained by Bloomberg, the European Union has stepped up the demands for concessions that Britain must make during the transition period that follows Brexit, pushing back the cut-off date for the acquisition of rights for European Union citizens.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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