Brexit Negotiations – Round 4

The fourth round of talks between the UK and the EU starts on Monday 25th September 2017 and is scheduled to take place from 25-28 September 2017.

There is nothing different in the agenda from previous rounds, so its hardly worth quoting the Agenda for the week of meetings, but here it is

Monday, 25 September 2017
Negotiating groups
17:30: David Davis, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European Commission Chief Negotiator, meet at the Berlaymont (VIP corner).
Principals’ meeting

Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Negotiating groups

Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Negotiating groups
Coordinators’ meeting

Thursday, 28 September 2017
Plenary session with the Principals

Press briefing

Note: There are three negotiating groups covering citizens’ rights, financial settlement and other separation issues. The issues related to Northern Ireland will be addressed by the Coordinators. The governance of the withdrawal agreement will be also discussed at technical level.

Michel Barnier made the following statement at the opening of the proceedings

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, a word of thanks to the Estonian Presidency and to Matti Maasikas, and to the whole team in the Embassy, and to all the Ministers doing a tremendous job – in particular in my area – in a spirit of trust and reciprocity that I would like to commend.

In her speech in Florence, Theresa May expressed a constructive spirit, which is also ours, as the Ministers unanimously confirmed today in the Council.

What matters now – during this limited time, when every day we are getting closer to the 29 March 2019: the day the UK will become a third country, as was its wish and demand – is that the UK government translates Mrs. May’s statements into clear negotiating positions.

And that we discuss in detail these positions around the negotiating table.

We are therefore at a moment of clarity, particularly regarding citizens’ rights and the financial settlement. And we need to advance on finding a unique solution for Ireland. On all of these subjects, and on a few others, this is the moment of clarity.

Since Friday, the 27 Member States have reaffirmed their unity. This was once again confirmed in the discussions in the Council today. And this unity is shared also by the political groups I met this morning in the European Parliament– as I do almost every week.

A word now on the new, key element raised in Theresa May’s speech: The United Kingdom requested for the first time a transition period for a limited amount of time beyond its withdrawal from the European Union and its institutions.

This is currently not part of my mandate, but I would like to insist on a few conditions that the European Council has already set out. Allow me to refer you to the European Council guidelines, which must be read regularly – as I often do.

1. The Union also must decide if such a period is in its interest.

2. Any transition must respect the legal and financial framework of the Single Market. To quote the European Council: “Should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures to apply.” Those are the words of the European Council. I think that everybody should remember them.

3. Finally, discussions on a transition – which will now take place since the UK has requested it – do not absolve us from the necessity of making “sufficient progress.” Progress on our three key issues remains more than ever necessary in order to build the trust needed to begin discussing our future relationship.

A final point, which is also important, is that we do not mix up the discussion on liabilities and commitments from the past – which are the subjects that make up the orderly withdrawal – with a discussion on the future relationship.

The fourth round of negotiations this week should allow us to advance on each of these key points and to get the clarity that is needed to make progress. (pdf)

David Davis made the following statement at the opening of the proceedings:

Thank you Michel.

I’m pleased to be back in Brussels with you for the fourth round of negotiations.

We expect this to be a busy week. One that will set us on the important path towards our future partnership. The Prime Minister’s speech on Friday set out clearly the leadership and flexibility needed to make a success of these negotiations.

This round, for me, will be about building on the technical work done in previous rounds and the concrete proposals provided by the speech in Florence. It will be now for our teams to work through those details this week.

On Citizens’ Rights we will incorporate the agreement fully into UK law and take steps to ensure consistent interpretation. We hope to make progress on issues like the onward movement of UK citizens in the EU, and voting rights in local elections. We both want to avoid changes to the way citizens enjoy their rights and our proposals will deliver that.

On Northern Ireland and Ireland we made good progress at the last round, as you said, with a common desire to maintain the Common Travel Area and protect the Good Friday Agreement. This week will now be about crunching through the technical detail of how we, together, make that happen.

On the financial settlement, as part of a smooth and orderly exit, we do not want our EU partners to worry that they will need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave. The UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership.

But it’s obvious that reaching a conclusion on this issue can only be done in the context of and in accordance with our new deep and special partnership with the EU.

So the UK is absolutely committed to work through the detail.

We are laying out concrete proposals and there are no excuses for standing in the way of progress.

It will take pragmatism on both sides to make headway, and I hope we can achieve that this week.

Thank you.