Statement by Michel Barnier 19 June 2017

Michel Barnier made the following statement at the end of the first day of negotiations with the UK:

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Je suis heureux de vous retrouver, aux côtés de David Davis, pour cette première conférence de presse commune.
I am pleased to meet you, along with David Davis, for this first joint press conference.

Cette première session était importante. Je peux dire aujourd’hui qu’elle a été utile.
This first session was important. I can say today that it was useful.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This first session was useful to start off on the right foot. And it was useful for me to sit down with my counterpart, David Davis. I look forward to working closely with you during this negotiation.

Today, we agreed on dates.

We agreed on organisation.

We agreed on priorities for the negotiation.

In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the UK happens in an orderly manner.

Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship.

We also agreed on how we will structure our talks. Our aim is to have one week of negotiations every month. And use the time in between to work on proposals and exchange them.

In the first phase, the negotiation rounds will be broken down into three groups: citizens’ rights, the single financial settlement, and other separation issues.
These groups will report back to their respective principals during each negotiating week.

David Davis and I, as Chief EU Negotiator, will discuss the issues together, tackle difficulties, lift obstacles.

We agreed that our closest collaborators will start a dialogue on Ireland. The protection of the Good Friday agreement and the maintenance of the Common Travel Area are the most urgent issues to discuss.

We also agreed on the importance of timing for this first phase.

Our objective is to agree on the main principles of the key challenges for the UK’s withdrawal as soon as possible. This includes citizens’ rights, the single financial settlement, and the question of the borders, in particular in Ireland.

The European Council can then decide on whether we can show sufficient progress, or not. And if we can move to scoping the future relationship on trade and other matters.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Aujourd’hui, nous avons donc commencé à discuter de ces trois sujets clé dans le mandat que m’ont donné les 27.
Today, therefore, we have begun to discuss these three key issues in the mandate given to me by the 27

Nous devons nous engager mutuellement à garantir aux citoyens des deux côtés du channel qu’ils pourront continuer à vivre comme avant.
We must make a commitment to ensure that citizens on both sides of the channel can continue to live as they did before.

Nous devons solder les comptes et honorer nos engagements financiers mutuels.
We have to balance the accounts and honor our mutual financial commitments.

Nous devons trouver des solutions pour préserver tous les engagements du Good Friday Agreement.
We must find solutions to preserve all the commitments of the Good Friday Agreement.

C’est en levant les incertitudes sur ces sujets que nous poserons les bases de la confiance nécessaire pour bâtir un nouveau partenariat entre nous.
It is by removing the uncertainties on these subjects that we will lay the foundations of the confidence necessary to build a new partnership between us.

En quittant l’Union comme il a choisi de le faire, le Royaume-Uni n’aura plus les mêmes droits et bénéfices que les Etats membres de l’Union. Je suis cependant convaincu qu’il est dans notre intérêt commun d’établir un nouveau partenariat entre les 27 et le Royaume-Uni et que ce partenariat peut contribuer à la stabilité durable de notre continent.
Upon leaving the Union as it has chosen to do, the United Kingdom will no longer enjoy the same rights and benefits as the Member States of the Union. However, I am convinced that it is in our common interest to establish a new partnership between the 27 and the UK and that this partnership can contribute to the lasting stability of our continent.

Nous sommes à 27, avec les institutions, unis pour cette négociation et dans cette perspective. Mais, les 27 sont également unis pour, en toutes hypothèses, continuer à réformer, progresser, avancer ensemble.
We are 27, with the institutions, united for this negotiation and in this perspective. But, the 27 are also united to, in any case, continue to reform, progress, advance together.

Ladies and gentlemen,

For both the EU and the UK, a fair deal is possible and far better than no deal. That is what I said to David today. That is why we will work all the time with the UK, and never against the UK.

There will be no hostility on my side. I will display a constructive attitude, firmly based on the interest and support of the 27.

And I will all the time seek the continued support of the European Parliament.

Permettez-moi de terminer en citant Jean Monnet qui, quand on lui demandait s’il était optimiste ou pessimiste, répondait : ni l’un, ni l’autre, je suis déterminé. Voilà mon état d’esprit.
Let me finish by quoting Jean Monnet who, when asked if he was optimistic or pessimistic, replied: neither one nor the other, I am determined. That is my state of mind.