“Decisive steps forward” partake of been made in the latest round of UK-EU talks, Brexit Secretary David Davis has affirmed.
Mr Davis was speaking at the end of the first talks since Theresa May’s speech in Italy persist week, in which she said the UK wanted a two-year transition.
But EU negotiator Michel Barnier thought there were still “big gaps” between the sides on some of the withdrawal progenies.
He said it could be “weeks or months” before they agreed to in transit to the next stage of talks about future relations.
The UK is keen to start talking on every side what kind of trading relationship it will have with the EU after Brexit, and the primary aim had been to get the go-ahead for these discussions when EU leaders meet next month.
But the EU guesses those talks can only happen when there has been “adequate progress” on three issues: the so-called divorce bill when the UK desists, the rights for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU and the Northern Ireland border.
In a rare cooperative statement, trade union group the TUC and the CBI, which represents British roles, have called for urgent action from the EU and the UK government to guarantee city-dwellers’ rights.
They said: “After 15 months of human poker, the uncertainty front four million European and UK citizens has become intolerable.”
Mr Barnier about the UK had confirmed that EU citizens “will be able to invoke their rights first the UK courts” but the sides had failed to agree over the role of the European Court of Punishment in securing those rights.
Mrs May insists the UK will not be subject to the European Court of Even-handedness’s rulings after Brexit.
Mr Davis echoed her view, saying that the UK intention be “a third country outside the European Union [and] it would not be right for this lines be performed by the European Court of Justice”.
He gave an undertaking that the ending withdrawal agreement would be incorporated into UK law, but Mr Barnier said the task of the European Court of Justice was “indispensible” and was “a stumbling block” in the talks.
On the other most important issues of Northern Ireland and the financial settlement, Mr Davis again voiced constructive work had been done – but added that the UK was not at the stage of simplifying which financial commitments it accepted would need to be paid.
“We possess begun drafting joint principles on preserving the common travel enclosure” between the UK and Republic of Ireland, the Brexit secretary announced, adding: “We are both reconciled that the Good Friday Agreement citizenship rights must be sustained.”
Mr Barnier said any deal in this area must “respect both the honesty of the single market… and the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts”.
By Chris Morris
So in one way Theresa May’s speech in Florence has broken the logjam. The willing could have become ugly, and that has changed. There is a “new dynamical”.
But some pretty fundamental differences remain – about the role of the European Court of Legitimacy, and about money.
The UK now says it will honour the financial commitments it has hooked as a member state – but it won’t spell out what it thinks those commitments are until it can review a future relationship with the EU.
The response to that from Michel Barnier? Agreeably, always pay attention when a politician begins a sentence with the orders “being frank…”
“There is no possible link,’ he said, “no logical or consistent link”, between discussion of a new partnership and discussion of past commitments.
The UK thinks it has bragged flexibility, and the EU should do the same. But for now, the EU is sticking with the narrow mandate that Mr Barnier has been prearranged.
In other words, while these negotiations haven’t fallen off the balusters, this was another reminder of just how difficult and complex they are.
Mr Davis give the word delivered the prime minister’s speech was intended to “change the dynamic and instil natural momentum” into the talks – and he hoped EU negotiators would secure “a mandate to probe” the transition idea.
But Mr Barnier insisted that the transition should be discussed in the assist phase of negotiations.
“The prime minister’s speech in Florence has created a new lively in our negotiations and we have felt this during the negotiations this week,” the EU’s chief intervener said.
“We have had a constructive week, yes, but we are not yet there in terms of achieving adequate progress. Further work is needed in the coming weeks and coming months.
“But we require keep working in a constructive spirit until we reach a deal on the chief principles of the UK’s orderly withdrawal.”
Separately, the European Parliament said that EU commandants should postpone their decision on progress until after their October crown saying “sufficient progress has not yet been made” in the talks so far.
Their moving, to be voted on next week, also “expresses concern about distressing administrative practices against EU citizens living in the United Kingdom”.