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The Latest: Eurotunnel tests new ‘digital border’ for Brexit

September 17, 2019
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An employee of Eurotunnel checks a British truck on its way to France during a day of test in case of no deal Brexit at the entrance of the Channel tunnel in Folkestone, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said after a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that "there is a good chance" of a Brexit deal with the European Union. (Denis Charlet, Pool via AP)
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An employee of Eurotunnel checks a British truck on its way to France during a day of test in case of no deal Brexit at the entrance of the Channel tunnel in Folkestone, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said after a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that "there is a good chance" of a Brexit deal with the European Union. (Denis Charlet, Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s plan to leave the European Union (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

Eurotunnel has held a round of tests to prepare for a possible no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31, checking that a new “digital border” between France and Britain would work seamlessly and keep traffic flowing in the event of new controls.

Eurotunnel ran freight trucks between Folkestone, in Britain, and Coquelles in France to test the new 15 million-euro ($16.6 million) infrastructure that features bar codes for customs declarations.

Eurotunnel spokeswoman Anne Laure Descleves warned that transport companies must declare freight in advance to make the journey, warning that “teething problems” could exist at the start.

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3:15 p.m.

The European Union says no Brexit talks have been scheduled for coming days despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office insisting that meetings would soon begin on a daily basis.

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Tuesday that “once there are meetings to announce we will do this.”

The commission is supervising Brexit negotiations on behalf of Britain’s 27 EU partners.

Andreeva says “we remain available 24/7” and that “this hasn’t changed. We are available to meet anytime, any day, every day, if the U.K. wants to meet us.”

But she says “it’s now the U.K.’s responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the withdrawal agreement” in order “to move the discussions forward.”

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1:15 p.m.

The Dutch king has issued a “profit warning” for his country amid concerns about the effect of Brexit and global trade conflicts in his annual speech marking the opening of Parliament.

In the speech from the throne, written by the coalition government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, King Willem-Alexander said Tuesday that the strong Dutch economy will enter a period of more moderate growth in coming years.

He says that the Dutch economy, which is reliant on exports, “is vulnerable to disruptions in the global market, particularly as a result of trade conflicts” and added that the looming “Brexit casts its shadow over the future.”

The government will present its plans and projections for the coming year later in the day.

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10:45 a.m.

The leader of the European Parliament’s biggest party group says no progress is being made in Brexit talks, around six weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union.

The president of the center-right European People’s Party bloc, Manfred Weber, said that “there is no progress. Absolutely, it’s clear.”

He described Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU’s Brexit negotiator in Luxembourg on Monday as “a missed opportunity.”

Weber said “there was no progress on content. There is no proposal from the British side on the table.”

He told reporters in Strasbourg, France, that it is “funny to see” that only the EU assembly is debating Brexit this week, due to the parliamentary shutdown in London.

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10:05 a.m.

Hungary’s foreign minister has indicated that his country won’t go against a joint European Union position on Brexit.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Tuesday called it “very important” that the EU has maintained “unity” about Brexit, adding that Hungary has never broken the bloc’s united decisions on key issues.

Still, Szijjarto said after a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, it was pointless to speculate about what the EU position will be, since British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not yet presented “a new initiative” on Brexit. Johnson insists Britain will leave the EU on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 with or without a Brexit deal.

There has been speculation in Britain that Hungary’ government might oppose extending the Brexit deadline because of political affinities with Johnson.

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9:50 a.m.

Britain’s Supreme Court is set to decide whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke the law when he suspended Parliament just weeks before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union.

Lower courts have given contradictory rulings. England’s High Court said it was a political rather than legal matter, but Scottish court judges ruled that Johnson acted illegally to avoid democratic scrutiny.

Johnson sent lawmakers home Sept.9 until Oct. 14, which is barely two weeks before the scheduled Brexit day of Oct. 31.

He says the suspension will allow his government to launch its domestic agenda with a new session of Parliament. Opponents say it’s designed to prevent lawmakers interfering with his plan to leave the EU next month, deal or no deal.

The case starts Tuesday and could last three days.

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