Thursday

20th Feb 2020

Britain and EU 'get to work' on Brexit

  • Barnier (middle left) and Davis (middle right) kicked off talks on the details of Brexit. (Photo: European Commission)

Britain and the EU said they would get to the “heart of the matter”, as the second round of talks were kicked off on Monday (17 July) in Brussels.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier welcomed Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis in the European Commission, where working groups commenced detailed discussions on citizens’ rights, financial settlement, and other issues, such as jurisdiction of the EU’s top court and the UK's Northern Irish border with Ireland.

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"We'll now delve into the heart of the matter," Barnier told reporters, saying the two sides need to examine and compare their respective positions.

Davis said it is “time to get down to work” and make negotiations a success.

"For us it's incredibly important we now make good progress ... that we negotiate through this and identify the differences so we can deal with them and identify the similarities, so that we can reinforce them," he said.

The two negotiators did not take questions, saying “they have to work” now.

Davis left Brussels later in the morning, after his meeting with Barnier, and is expected to return to Brussels on Thursday (20 July) to close-out the second round of discussions.

However, Barnier said they would be in contact throughout the week.

One of the key issues is the financial settlement.

On Monday, the UK still has not presented on paper its position for the financial settlement.

A source told EUobserver that UK negotiators listened to what the European Commission had to say about paying a bill. An EU official told EUobserver that the UK wants to first see what it would get “in exchange” for the financial settlement before committing to settle the accounts.

Earlier estimates put the bill between €60 billion and €100 billion.

Brexit talks restart in sense of urgency

The first full round of Brexit talks on key issues kicks off on Monday, while infighting heats up in the UK government over its strategy.

Barnier urges UK to come up with Brexit positions

The EU's negotiator calls on the UK government to come up with its positions on key Brexit issues ahead of the next round of talks on Monday. London is expected to do that by the end of the week.

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".

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Originally, a transitional deal to soften the UK's exit from the EU was seen as a no-go on the British side, but now it is seeming more and more likely.

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