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17:39, 18 October 2017 Wednesday
15:12, 28 September 2017 Thursday

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UK claims 'decisive progress' made in Brexit talks
UK claims 'decisive progress' made in Brexit talks

However, EU negotiator Michel Barnier says 'more remains to be done'  

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.K.’s chief Brexit negotiator claimed Thursday significant progress and “decisive steps forward” have been made in a fourth round of negotiations with the EU.

In a joint news conference with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, David Davis said it was a "vital round of negotiations" and Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Florence "had at its heart a desire to drive progress this week".

"It was intended to change the dynamic and instil real momentum," he said.

However, Barnier said "more remains to be done and we are not there yet.”

However, he added negotiators would "keep working in a constructive spirit until we reach a deal".

Stressing that May’s speech “made it possible to unblock the situation to some extent, and give a new dynamic to the situation,” Barnier said it may take time to agree on whether sufficient progress was reached.

He warned it could take weeks “or maybe even months” before Europe could say there had been sufficient progress “on the principles of this orderly withdrawal”.

Barnier also ruled out linking a deal on Britain’s financial obligations to a future UK-EU relationship deal.

The fourth round of Brexit talks focused on three key areas: rights of EU citizens in the U.K. and British citizens settled in EU member states; the land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; and the financial settlement bill.

"We have begun drafting joint principles on preserving the Common Travel Area" between the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland, Davis said.

"We are both agreed that the Good Friday Agreement citizenship rights must be upheld," he added.

Barnier said any deal in this area must "respect both the integrity of the single market... and the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts".

The next round of negotiations will resume on Oct. 9.

The U.K. would like to start a second phase of negotiations where Britain’s future relation with the bloc, including policies over trade and single market access will be shaped.

However, the EU has said the first phase, which is solely on separation issues, must see sufficient progress before starting phase two.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU in March 2019, ending its 44-year membership of the bloc.



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