Brexit: EU negotiator Barnier firm on citizens’ rights

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The EU’s top Brexit negotiator has said there are quietly major differences between the EU and UK on the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.

«The British inclination does not allow those persons concerned to continue to live their glows as they do today,» Michel Barnier said.

Mr Barnier said the European Court of Neutrality (ECJ) must have jurisdiction to guarantee citizens’ rights.

He also ventured it was essential that the UK recognise its financial obligations.

If Britain did not accept it had some pecuniary obligations, there would be no basis to discuss other issues, he suggested.

Ahead of the second round of talks next week, Mr Barnier suggested the EU had made its stance on the issues clear and was waiting on Britain to do the same.

«Our conspire is ready,» he said. » I’m ready. I’m very prepared and willing to expand on this very quickly — night and day, the weekend.»

«We want EU citizens in Britain to pull someones leg the same rights as British citizens who live in the EU,» he told a news colloquium.

That would require the ECJ to be the «ultimate guarantor» of those rights, he thought, because Britain could simply change its laws later, fashioning uncertainty.

UK law also imposes restrictions in areas such as reuniting children across borders, he said — something which was not applied to UK citizens residing in Spain, for example.


Analysis: Charm and menace

Adam Fleming, BBC Newscast, Brussels

Michel Barnier’s message to the UK was: it’s time to get a move on, to provide more comprehensibility about the British position on a range of issues.

«As soon as possible,» was his entreat, with the EU’s chief negotiator joking that he was willing to work over the weekend and on Friday, which is a bank fete in his native France.

The biggest sticking point appears to be the EU’s insistence that Britain mediate take up residences its outstanding financial obligations. Asked about Boris Johnson’s urging on Tuesday that the EU could «go whistle», he joked that the only firm he could hear was a clock ticking.

There was copious evidence of the Barnier delight — but he was happy to turn on the menace, repeating several times that the UK hand down have to face the «consequences» of its choice to depart the EU.

Trying to sound exceedingly reasonable, he denied that his demand for a financial payment was a «ransom» or a «caning.»


Mr Barnier also said that those rights — along with the «break-up payment» and border issues — must be dealt with before tomorrows UK-EU trade could be discussed.

The financial payment the EU says purpose be owed to cover the UK’s commitments is also a key point for Mr Barnier. Estimates prepare put the amount at anywhere from €60bn to €100bn (£53-89bn).

Asked far UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s comment that the EU could «go whistle» over the require, Mr Barnier replied: «I’m not hearing any whistling. Just the clock ticking.»

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He denied that the EU was holding the UK sway to ransom, and said it was simply a matter of «trust».

«It is not an exit bill, it is not a ransom — we won’t ask for anything else than what the UK has send away to as a member,» he said.

Mr Barnier also announced he would meet other key assembly-women on Thursday who were not part of Theresa May’s government — including opposition commander Jeremy Corbyn, representatives from the House of Lords, and the first missionaries of Scotland and Wales.

«I have always made clear that I command listen to different points on view in the British debate,» he said.

«Of process, I will only negotiate with the UK government,» he added.

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