EU Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier said he is “concerned” about the progress of talks and has urged the UK to start “negotiating seriously, as the third round of talks with British Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis began in Brussels.
Barnier said he welcomed the British government’s position papers, which he said had been read “very carefully” in Brussels, but standing beside Davis he added that he wanted the UK to come clean on how much it was prepared to pay in terms of an exit bill.
“We need UK positions on all separation issues. This is necessary to make sufficient progress. We must start negotiating seriously. We need UK papers that are clear in order to have constructive negotiations. And the sooner we remove the ambiguity the sooner we will be in a position to discuss the future relationship and to a transitional period,” he said.
However, Davis will refuse to spell out what he thinks the UK could be liable for, despite having admitted Britain has “obligations” from its 44 years of EU membership.
European leaders have agreed unanimously that the UK must make sufficient progress on three separation issues before talks can progress to trade. Barnier’s mandate means the UK has to reach an agreement on the financial settlement, the Irish border and EU citizens’ rights before discussing a future relationship with the EU.
Davis has repeatedly said this timetable is “inflexible.”
As he entered the talks, he repeated his call for the EU to show “imagination” about the organization of the talks.
“For the UK, the week ahead is about driving forward the technical discussion ahead across all the issues. We want to lock in the points where we agree, unpick the areas where we disagree and make further progress on the whole range of issues. In order to do that we require flexibility and imagination from both sides,” he said.
Before the negotiations started, sources at the Elysee poured cold water on suggestions of a possible Brexit climbdown by the EU led by France.
On Monday, it was reported that France favoured beginning trade talks in October, potentially breaking the deadlock over the timetable.
According to the report, France had proposed the UK pay 10 billion euros (US$12.04 billion) per year into the EU budget during a three-year transitional period and continue to accept EU law. The UK would then be allowed to progress to trade talks in October.
However, a source at the Elysee said the “allegations” in the Telegraph were baseless.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists