- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 19, 2019

BERLIN (AP) - The Latest on the Brexit negotiations (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

The chief of the European Union’s executive arm says he isn’t enjoying the “demolition” work of Brexit.

Asked if he derives more fun from Brexit talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May or trade talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Neither of them.”

Juncker is due to meet May on Wednesday for the latest attempt at a breakthrough in talks on Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Juncker told reporters in Stuttgart, Germany on Tuesday: “I fully respect Mrs. May, but I have no pleasure in these talks because I went to Brussels in 2014 to build something. Now I am busy with demolition. That was not my intention.”

He added: “I am having to concern myself with something that is not a project for the future.”


5:30 p.m.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says there are not enough signs of progress on Brexit to expect his meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday will be productive.

May is seeking an elusive breakthrough in discussions with the European Union to win support from lawmakers who oppose the withdrawal agreement her government and the EU reached.

But the EU is adamant the other 27 member countries won’t reopen the already negotiated divorce deal. Britain is set to leave the EU on March 29, a little more than a month.

Juncker told reporters in the German city of Stuttgart on Tuesday: “I am meeting Mrs. May tomorrow evening, and there is not enough movement for me to be able to assume that it will be a productive discussion.”

He added: “I don’t know what Mrs. May will tell me tomorrow.”


2:30 p.m.

Britain’s business secretary says the Brexit-related uncertainty facing U.K. businesses is “unacceptable.”

Greg Clark told a manufacturers’ organization Tuesday that the precarious situation “needs to be brought to a conclusion.”

The U.K. is set to leave the European Union on March 29 but has yet to seal a deal laying out divorce terms and future trade rules. The uncertainty has already led many firms to shift some operations abroad, stockpile goods or defer investment decisions.

Parliament blocked a divorce deal last month, and remains deadlocked.

Clark, a leading pro-EU voice in Cabinet, said businesses could not wait until “the last minute on March 28” for certainty.

He said “decisions like Honda’s this morning demonstrates starkly how much is at stake.”

The Japanese automaker plans to close its only U.K. plant in 2021, though it says the decision is not directly related to Brexit.


12:25 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker late Wednesday for a latest attempt to find a breakthrough in the stalled Brexit negotiations.

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas made the announcement Tuesday as the slated March 29 departure date for the United Kingdom to leave the EU draws ever closer.

May has vowed that she will deliver the U.K. departure from the EU on time, but successive attempts to find a solution have been fruitless. She met with Juncker also earlier this month.


9:15 a.m.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he can’t rule out that a delayed Brexit could mean the United Kingdom would participate in this spring’s European Parliament election.

However, Juncker told German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung in an interview published Tuesday that such a scenario was “difficult to imagine,” saying it would be a “belated joke of history.”

Britain is scheduled to withdraw from the European Union on March 29, but the U.K. government is trying to revisit a divorce deal agreed with the EU last year. Brussels is refusing to budge.

Juncker told the Stuttgarter Zeitung it’s up to Britain to decide whether it wants to request a delay to the Brexit date, but that it should happen before the newly elected European Parliament gathers in July.

The election takes place May 23-26.


This version corrects that the newly elected European Parliament is to gather in July, not June.

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