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Brexit: EU lauds 'new dynamic'

September 28, 2017

Representatives from both the UK and EU said the latest round of Brexit talks had brought new momentum to the negotiations. But the EU has warned that the UK must define its financial commitments.

David Davis and Michel Barnier at a press conference following talks
Image: Reuters/F. Lenoir

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has hailed a "new dynamic" in the talks aimed at arranging Britain's exit from the bloc.

Barnier said UK Prime Minister Theresa May's speech last week in Florence had brought new "momentum" and that everyone had "felt this during the negotiations this week."

UK chief negotiator David Davis, in his usual upbeat manner, told reporters, "We are making decisive steps forward." In particular, he said, progress had been made on safeguarding the rights of citizens who will be hit by Britain's EU exit, due on March 29, 2019.

Graphic showing a Brexit timeline

Barnier, however, warned that the parties "were not quite there yet" and that "sufficient progress" was still lacking, echoing comments made by EU Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday. The term "sufficient progress" is used by EU negotiators to gauge whether the UK has created the conditions for further negotiations on the future relationship between Britain and the EU.

EU assessment to be postponed?

The three key divorce issues from the EU's point of view are Britain's financial commitments, what will happen to the Irish border and the rights of 3 million EU citizens living in Britain. The issues were originally to be clarified by the start of an EU summit in October.

The European Parliament, however, has suggested lawmakers postpone their assessment of the talks until after the summit.

May's speech in Florence has been seen as a signal for compromise as it offered key concessions as well as a proposal for a transition period of around two years after Brexit to allow businesses to adjust to the new situation.

ng/sms (AP, AFP)