The European Commission escalates pressure on the UK side as “the clock is ticking” for London to elaborate on its position regarding the future of EU citizens after Brexit, within five days.
Ex-Commissioner and now EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit Michel Barnier, referred to Boris Johnson’s claim that the EU could “go whistle” over the pending financial settlement: “I’m not hearing any whistling, just a clock ticking,” said Barnier to Brussels reporters at the European Commission headquarters pressroom.
A few days ahead of the second negotiating round before the EU-27 and the UK, Barnier briefed the College of Commissioners during their weekly meet-up. Barnier will meet Brexit Secretary David Davis again on Monday, but before this happens, the European Commission and Barnier will dispatch seven more position papers to the UK. “I shall be sending 7 papers to the UK no later than tomorrow,” said Barnier.
“Our team is ready. I’m ready,” he said. “I’m very prepared and willing to work on this very quickly – night and day, the weekend, even during the French holiday of 14 July,” said Barnier.
Ahead of the second round of talks next week, he said the EU had made its stance on the issues clear – and was waiting on Britain to do the same. “I don’t want to push anybody over the edge, but we have to find clear and sustainable solutions,” said Barnier, as today’s British position “does not allow those persons concerned to continue to live their lives as they do today.” According to the EU chief negotiator, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) must have jurisdiction to guarantee citizens’ rights, as the “unlimited guarantor”.
“We want EU citizens in Britain to have the same rights as British citizens who live in the EU,” said Barnier, suggesting that the UK proposal is till away from providing citizens with the same rights “as the British citizens that are living in Spain have”. Furthermore, the UK law also imposes restrictions in areas such as reuniting families across borders.
UK’s financial obligations a basis to discuss other issues
According to Barnier, there is a read line on He also said it was essential that the UK recognise its financial obligations. “If Britain did not recognise it had some financial obligations, there would be no basis to discuss other issues,” he said.
UK law also imposes restrictions in areas such as reuniting families across borders, he said – something which was not applied to UK citizens living in Spain, for example.
As for the Good Friday agreement, Barnier aims to “start discussions quickly” on all different aspects of the issue, while the EU wants to protect all the dimensions of the “Good Friday agreement”.
Michel Barnier also announced he would meet with other politicians of the opposition on Thursday who were not part of Theresa May’s government – including opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, representatives from the House of Lords, and the first ministers of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and Wales. “I have always made clear that I will listen to different points on view in the British debate,” said Barnier, but “of course, I will only negotiate with the UK government,” he added.