Friday, November 10, 2017

EU gives UK 2 weeks to make concessions on Brexit talks

Michel Barnier
The U.K. government has two weeks to make concessions in its Brexit negotiations if it wants to pass on to trade talks this year, according to the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Friday.

Speaking at a press briefing in Brussels after the sixth round of Brexit talks, Michel Barnier said the U.K.'s clarification on financial commitments "is absolutely vital if we are to achieve sufficient progress in December”.

"Only sufficient progress -- that is to say sincere and real progress -- on the three main key issues of these negotiations will enable the triggering of the second phase of our negotiation," Barnier said, according to a web broadcast of the briefing.

He said there were still a number of points that need more work, including family reunification, security benefits and the role of the European Court of Justice in guaranteeing consistent application of case law.

Apart from the citizens' rights and the financial commitment, the border issue of Northern Ireland is also one of the hot topics in the talks as the EU wants to ensure its single market.

"We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and customs union.

“But that cannot come at a cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom," David Davis, the Brexit secretary who also spoke at the press briefing, said.

EU leaders will decide at a summit in Brussels in December whether sufficient progress has been made in the current phase of the negotiations to move on to next stage.

British voters opted to leave the EU in a referendum over a year ago and Brexit negotiations are supposed to be finalized in March 2019.


  • An internal EU paper has suggested that the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland effectively requires Northern Ireland to remain in the single market and the customs union.

The working paper, seen by RTÉ News, said that in order to avoid a hard border it is essential that there be no divergence of rules on either side of the Irish border.

That scenario would effectively require Northern Ireland to remain in the single market and the customs union.

The working paper is described as an internal document from the EU's Brexit Task Force led by Michel Barnier.

It was circulated to the 27 member states on Wednesday night and presented to British negotiators in Brussels yesterday.

It comes as Mr Barnier met Brexit Secretary David Davis in Brussels today for round six of the negotiations.

The paper contains the most explicit expression yet by the EU that the only way to avoid a hard border is for the UK to remain in the customs union and the single market, or at least for Northern Ireland to remain within those structures......

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