Sunday

21st Apr 2019

Barnier urges UK to come up with Brexit positions

  • Barnier talked to the press after debriefing EU commissioners on the state of play of the Brexit talks (Photo: European Commission)

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, urged the UK to come up with its negotiating positions before the second round of talks due next Monday (17 July).

The French politician expressed his frustration that the UK has not formulated positions on key issues related to the divorce agreement, especially on the single financial settlement.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The British government has not yet accepted the principle of the need for a financial settlement, arguing that it has no obligations once the UK leaves the EU.

At a press conference on Wednesday (12 July), Barnier warned that until the UK accepted the principle of paying, there would be no grounds to talk about future relations.

"This is a question of major importance in creating the basis that we need in starting the discussion on the future relationship,” he told journalists.

Barnier also fired back at foreign minister Boris Johnson who told EU leaders to “go whistle” if they expected Britain to pay.

“I’m not hearing any whistling, just the clock ticking,” the chief negotiator quipped.

"It is not a ransom, it’s not an exit bill, it’s not punishment, not a revenge, it is simply settling accounts - any separation needs settling accounts,” he added.

"How would you build a relationship - on trade, on defence - which is going to last with a country with which you don’t have trust. … Trust means giving security for the four million [EU/UK] citizens, it means settling accounts,” Barnier stressed.

The French negotiator said that progress needs to be made on all three key subjects identified by the EU - citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland - to move onto the second phase on the future relations.

“We now need to know the UK position on each of these issues in order to make progress,” Barnier said.

The UK government will come up with position papers before the weekend, an official told EUobserver.

The EU has published nine position papers so far on key Brexit issues.

“We need to engage substantially in all the issues in the first phase of the negotiations,” Barnier said.

He added that what is at stake in the discussions on Monday is identifying points where the two sides agree and disagree.

He highlighted the issue of citizens’ rights, where there are substantial differences between the two sides - for instance, on reciprocity and on the European Court of Justice as the guarantor of those rights.

Earlier on Wednesday, the European Parliament’s Brexit point man, Guy Verhofstadt, also pointed out that the UK’s proposals on citizens’ rights is not enough.

The former Belgian prime minister told the EU parliament's committee on constitutional affairs: "It falls short in respecting the rights of EU nationals on family reunification, rights to participate in local elections," adding that it "creates second class citizenship for EU nationals.”

Verhofstadt also said the parliament will do its own assessment in October - before EU leaders decide on the matter - on whether enough progress has been made to move onto the second phase of talks.

Barnier will suggest to the leaders of member states to move onto discussing the future relations once he thinks “sufficient progress” has been made on the three key divorce issues.

However, the EU parliament’s consent is obligatory for any divorce agreement to be accepted by the EU side.

Barnier sets price for hard Brexit

The EU Brexit negotiator warned that a customs union between the UK and EU will not be possible if the UK doesn't want to respect single market rules, and "no deal" would send the UK back to "a distant past".

UK leaves fishing convention amid Brexit talks

The UK announced it would leave the London fisheries convention, which allows mutual fishing close to the coast, arguing that it is taking back control of its waters. But Brussels warns: Brexit talks will decide that.

UK to depart EU court and Euratom

UK position papers call for departure from EU court and nuclear treaty as officials prepare for second round of Brexit talks.

UK ideas on Ireland 'worry' EU negotiator

The UK cannot use relations with Ireland as a test case, warned Michel Barnier, as the EU published its own position on post-Brexit relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Feature

'Swexit' off menu at election for first time in 24 years

The Swedish Left Party have abandoned euroscepticism to campaign on climate change - whilst the hard-right Sweden Democrats spy possibilities of a link up with Matteo Salvini of Italy and France's Marine Le Pen.

Opinion

Brexit vs Grexit: The six stages of losing to the EU

Theresa May's venture seems very similar to the attempt by Alexis Tsipras in 2015 to persuade Brussels to accept his terms for the bail out - a huge negotiation failure, presented to the public as the best possible deal.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  6. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  7. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  9. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  11. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  12. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us