Speaking points by Michel Barnier at the press conference following the second round of Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom
Good afternoon to all of you,
Thank for your patience which is a critical virtue for any negotiation.
Ladies and gentlemen, David and I and our teams have just finished a few minutes ago the second round of negotiations.
In our first round in June we agreed on the organisation of the negotiations.
Our second round, which began on Monday, was about the presentation of our respective positions.
Our objective was to start working on substance and also to continue building trust between us.
I said last week that I wanted to identify the points where we agree and the points where we disagree.
This was possible this week for the issues on which there was a clear British position.
On substance, it is first and foremost the issue of citizens’ rights that is a priority shared by the European Union, the 27 Member States, the European Parliament and the United Kingdom.
The detailed British position on this subject allowed us to begin to identify points of convergence and points of divergence.
We are now moving in a common direction.
But there remains a fundamental divergence on how to guarantee these rights, and on several other points, such as the rights of future members of the family or the export of certain social benefits.
Citizens must be able to find in the withdrawal agreement itself the legal certainty they need in their daily lives.
Frankly, on our side, we see no other way to guarantee the durability of these European rights exercised.And of course, any reference to European rights implies its control by the Court of Justice of the European Union.The challenge for the next negotiating session will therefore be to clarify the reasons for these divergences, bearing in mind our common objective that the citizens concerned can continue to live as they do today.On the Financial Regulation now, the United Kingdom had recognized last week the existence of obligations vis-à-vis the Union beyond the date of withdrawal and the need to settle these commitments. As the European Union had already recognized. Obviously, only this recognition makes it possible to engage as soon as possible the work on the precise identification of the obligations to be settled.The position of the European Union, made public on 29 May, is the result of a review of all the commitments which, from our point of view, should be covered by the withdrawal agreement. And this week we have detailed the legal analysis of these commitments.As I said very clearly to David, a clarification of the United Kingdom’s position is essential to negotiate and to achieve “sufficient progress” on this financial file, which is inseparable from the other files of the withdrawal. We want – and we are working towards – an orderly exit from the United Kingdom, as he has decided. And an orderly exit requires the payment of the accounts.We know that this agreement will not be formed in a discussion in small steps, not through incremental stepsAs soon as the United Kingdom is ready to clarify the nature of its commitments, we will be ready to discuss them with the British negotiators.
On Ireland, we had a first discussion on the impact of Brexit on two key subjects: the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area.
We agree that the important issue of the Good Friday Agreement, in all its dimensions, requires more detailed discussions. In particular, more work needs to be done to protect North-South cooperation between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Today, that cooperation is embedded in the common framework of EU law and EU policies.
We need to better understand how the UK intends on ensuring the continuation of this cooperation after Brexit.
We also agreed that the UK should clarify in the next session how it intends on maintaining the Common Travel Area after leaving the EU.
Finally, on the other subjects of separation, we had an exchange of views on the field to be covered, on how to bring legal clarity where the Brexit creates uncertainties, for example for producers, distributors, sellers of goods, but also for police cooperation or for citizens or companies involved in judicial proceedings that are under way.And we explained our positions on the basis of the seven papers we published.We have taken note of the United Kingdom’s clarifications on certain issues and its intention to clarify its positions in the next round of negotiations. The first round was about organisationThe second round was about presentation.The third round must be that of clarification. In August, we will need clarification:• on the Financial Regulation,• on the rights of citizens,• Ireland, including the Common Travel Area and the Good Friday Agreement first.• on the other subjects of separation, for which this week’s experience proves that we are making better progress when our respective positions are clear.