Brexit Talks Resume: Nettlesome Issues Remain, No Breakthrough in Sight

Written by | Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

British and European Union negotiators resumed Brexit talks yesterday (28 August) but no major breakthroughs are expected as a number of problematic issues linger and hinder the talks. The current discussions are said to be still rather technical before positions are clarified and both sides can kick-start more critical negotiations later in September.
Yesterday’s resumption of the negotiations marks the fourth round of talks since they began in June, whereby they expected to answer some important questions around the EU’s position on the EU-UK post-Brexit relationship. While London insists on clarifying this piece as soon as possible, Brussels insists that the future relationship will not be addressed until all issues are resolved.
UK’s Brexit negotiator David Davis said that the numerous position papers on the withdrawal and the vision for a future partnership with the EU ought to drive forward negotiations in all areas. “We want to lock in the points where we agree, unpick the areas where we disagree and make progress on a whole range of issues.” He also called for “flexibility and imagination from both sides” in order to advance.
However, his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, insists that the UK still needs to clarify its position on a few divorce issues and “start negotiating seriously” and added that “I am concerned. Time passes quickly.”Mr. Barnier then also stressed that “the sooner we remove the ambiguity, the sooner we’ll be able to discuss the future relationship and a transitional period,” while repeating EU’s stance that talks won’t advance unless divorce issues are “addressed properly.”
Among the most nettlesome issues is how the EU calculates how much the UK owes to the bloc while London has not yet proposed its own calculations. Another point of disagreement is the role of the EU’s top courts in overseeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK. The question of a potential reinstatement of a border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, is yet anothercontentious issue.

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