EU warns Britain to ‘start negotiating seriously’ » Manila Bulletin News

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By Agence France-Presse

The EU told Britain bluntly on Monday that it had to get serious about the Brexit negotiations and address key separation issues first before any talks about its future relationship with the bloc.

The European Union says there has to be “sufficient progress” in three key areas — EU citizen rights, Northern Ireland’s border and the exit bill — before it will turn to post-Brexit arrangements, possibly beginning in October.

British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (L) and European Union Chief Negotiator in charge of Brexit negotiations with Britain Michel Barnier (R) address media representatives at the European Union Commission Headquarters in Brussels on August 28, 2017.
(AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND / MANILA BULLETIN)

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier initially exchanged pleasantries with his British counterpart David Davis but swiftly changed tone to demand London come up with detailed responses to Brussels’ positions.

“To be honest, I am concerned, time passes quickly,” Barnier told reporters ahead of a third round of Brexit talks in Brussels.

“We welcome the (recent) UK government papers and we have read them very carefully… but we must start negotiating seriously,” he said.

“We need UK papers that are clear. The sooner we remove the ambiguity the sooner we will be in a position to discuss the future relationship and a transitional period.”

For his part, Davis read a statement issued earlier Monday in which he said Britain had been working hard on its position papers.

Without replying directly to Barnier’s , Davis said the British documents were “products of the hard work and detailed thinking that has been going on behind the scenes not just the last few weeks but the last 12 months”.

“They should form the basis of what I hope will be a constructive week of talks between the European Commission and the UK,” he said.

Progress will require “flexibility and imagination from both sides,” he said, adding: “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get down to work again once more.”

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