Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit, has today said in a press conference that it is “vital” that the UK clarifies its position on what it will pay to leave the bloc. Mr Barnier also warned that there “remains a fundamental split” in opinion between the two sides as to how to guarantee the rights of EU citizens continuing to live in Britain post-Brexit. In response to the claim that the UK has not been clear enough on where it stands on these issues, UK Brexit Secretary David Davis said that the negotiations had made progress, but that “ ultimately, getting to a solution will require flexibility from both sides”. Mr Davis told reporters that discussions regarding the so-called “Brexit bill” had been “robust but constructive”.
Mr Barnier acknowledged that there had been some areas of agreement between the parties regarding the rights of Britons living abroad and EU citizens living in the UK, however disagreement arose regarding how these rights should be protected. Mr Barnier believes such rights should be protected by the European Court of Justice; Prime Minister Theresa May has previously ruled this out.
Mr Barnier told reporters that “we require this clarification on the financial settlement, on citizens’ rights, on Ireland – with the two key points of the common travel area and the Good Friday Agreement – and the other separation issues where this week’s experience has quite simply shown we make better progress where our respective positions are clear.”