Negotiations on Britain’s exit from the EU resumed Monday, with the bloc’s chief negotiator saying it was time to start focusing on concrete proposals, local media reported.
“I look forward to our negotiations this week,” Michel Barnier said, according to The Guardian newspaper, as the two sides met in Brussels for talks that are scheduled to last until Thursday.
“We will now delve into the heart of the matter. We need to examine and compare our respective positions in order to make good progress.”
The U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis said the talks would focus on citizens’ rights, finance, “separation issues” and Northern Ireland, according to a government statement.
“For us it is incredibly important that we now make good progress, that we negotiate through this and identify the differences so that we can deal with them and identify the similarities so we can reinforce them,” Davis said.
It is the second round of formal talks. The first round began on June 19, a year after the referendum that decided the U.K.’s exit from the EU.
Davis said he was in Brussels to “open the next formal round of the negotiations” after a “good start” last month.
The status of EU citizens living in the U.K. and that of British nationals in the EU is one of the main issues, along with the amount Britain must pay to the EU and issues on the Irish border, that must be agreed before any talks on Britain's future trade arrangements with the EU.
Around 3.2 million EU citizens live in the U.K. while 1 million Britons are based in other EU countries.
The U.K. is due to leave the EU by the end of March 2019.