February 15, 2019 / 7:25 AM / 7 months ago

Brexit - France tells Britain to hurry up

FILE PHOTO: Nathalie Loiseau, French Minister attached to the Foreign Affairs Minister, attends the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - Britain should decide what to do regarding its exit from the European Union as soon as possible, French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on Friday.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a defeat in parliament on her Brexit strategy on Thursday that undermined her pledge to EU leaders to get her divorce deal approved if they grant her concessions.

“I am telling our British friends that it is about time to decide whether to leave on friendly terms or abruptly. It is up to them,” she told RTL radio. “It is a purely British choice. What we are saying is: hurry up!” Loiseau said.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but May has not yet got parliament’s approval for her divorce deal.

Loiseau said the EU would suffer from a renegotiation of the deal, the withdrawal agreement, that it agreed with May last year. She said she was not aware of Britain’s new demands.

May is seeking changes to the most contentious part of the withdrawal agreement - a backstop arrangement to ensure no return of a hard border between EU-member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Janet Lawrence

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