FILE PHOTO: British and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - It is up to the British parliament to take important decisions this week on the terms of Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union, the EU executive said on Monday after talks with London over the weekend brought no breakthrough.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing that Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker spoke on the phone to British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday night to take stock of the work done at technical level.
“No further meetings at a political level are scheduled but both sides will remain in close contact this week,” Schinas said.
“It is now up to the House of Commons to take important decisions this week,” Schinas said referring to a series of votes on Brexit scheduled to take place in London starting from Tuesday.
The discussions have long been stuck on the issue of an insurance policy against building a physical border on the island of Ireland after Britain leaves the EU on March 29th — the so-called Irish backstop arrangement.
The EU wants it make sure there would be no hard border that could re-start sectarian violence on the island and Brexit supporters are against the backstop on concern that what is meant to be only an insurance policy might turn into a permanent arrangement.
“The Commission has made proposals on further reassurances that the backstop, if used, will apply temporarily,” Schinas said.
Reporting By Alastair Macdonald, Clare Roth and Jan Strupczewski