Friday

24th Nov 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Trade talks could only start post-Brexit

Substantive negotiations on an EU-UK free trade deal would only start once Brexit is a reality. The main issue could be how much the UK would want to retain elements of the single market, and what the EU agrees to.

Irish crisis may complicate Brexit summit

Snap elections are on the horizon in Ireland over the future of Irish PM's right-hand woman, three weeks before Irish PM is due in Brussels for a crucial Brexit vote.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition