Talks in Brussels stumble over money but more progress made on expats’ rights
THE EUROPEAN Union’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier admitted yesterday (Thursday) that talks are in deadlock over money but a lot of progress has been made on citizens’ rights.
At the end of the fifth round of Brexit talks in Brussels, he said the EU and UK have reached ‘deadlock’ over the financial settlement, which is ‘very disturbing’.
This means that not enough progress has been made to move on to negotiations over a trade deal.
However, with political will ‘decisive progress is within our grasp over the next two months’ and further talks have been agreed.
The UK’s negotiator David Davis admitted there is still ‘much work to be done’ but ‘we have come a long way’.
“It is important to recognise the significant progress we have made since June,” he said in his closing remarks in Brussels yesterday.
Mr Davis explained that on citizens’ rights, ‘we have made further progress to give British citizens in the EU and EU27 citizens in the UK the greatest possible legal certainty about the future’.
“Our legal orders will, in the future, be distinct and different,” he said.
“So this week we explored ways of making sure the rights we agree now will be enforced in a fair and equivalent way.
"And in a way that gives citizens confidence that their rights will be upheld.”
Mr Davis noted that they also focused this week on ‘the other remaining issues on which we have not yet arrived at a solution’.
These are: the right to bring in future family members; to export a range of benefits; to continue to enjoy the recognition of professional qualifications; to vote in local elections; to move within the 27 as a UK citizen; to leave for a prolonged period and yet continue to enjoy a right to remain or permanent right of residence on return.
“These issues are not easy, but we have approached them with a shared spirit of trying to find solutions and both teams will now reflect further on that,” he added.
Mr Davis said that ‘as a result of our productive discussions, the Commission is also able to offer similar guarantees in return for those British citizens in the European Union’.
“This is a very welcome clarification and has built real confidence that the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the European Union - will continue to be accessible in the most straightforward way possible,” he noted.
“In summary, I think that this week of talks has brought us even closer to a deal that gives citizens’ rights to the legal certainty that they deserve.”
David Davis said progress has been made on expats' rights