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Brexit Negotiations – Round 6

It’s hardly worth even mentioning details of the Round 6 Negotiations between the UK and the EU but for completeness here are the relevant happenings.

The talks were scheduled to take place on the 9-10 November 2017 with the following brief Agenda

At the usual Press conference after Round 6 negotiations finished, the following statements were made.

Statement by Michel Barnier

Brussels, 10 November 2017

Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for the interest you show in this negotiation. Do not expect from us today, at this stage, announcements or decisions.

The discussions over the past days – in between the two European Councils – are a moment of deepening, clarification and technical work.

We are determined to reach a deal on the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, in view of the UK’s decision to leave. This is our absolute priority – as well as mine and my team’s – in view of the European Council on 14 and 15 December.

The decisions and guidelines of the European Council, particularly last month, and the resolutions of the European Parliament guide me every day in this work. When you read these resolutions and conclusions, you see again that only sufficient progress, i.e. sincere and real progress, on the three key areas of this negotiation will allow us to open the second phase of the negotiations. These three subjects are – I repeat – inseparable.

I would like to repeat that in this extraordinary negotiation, which is extraordinarily complex, that we are not demanding concessions from the United Kingdom, and we do not intend on issuing concessions either. We work on the basis of fact, and law, and on precise, reciprocal commitments. And we should – and we wish to – create certainty, especially legal certainty, where Brexit has created uncertainty and a lot of worry.

Ladies and gentlemen,
On citizens’ rights, we are making some progress, although we need to work further on a number of points.

The UK wants to put in place administrative procedures through which EU citizens can obtain “settled status”. The EU needed reassurances on how such a system would work: it should be simple to use, and low cost. We also needed reassurance on how people, when rejected, can appeal effectively. The UK has now provided useful clarifications that are a good basis for further work.

We also had encouraging discussions on direct effect of the withdrawal agreement. This is a key point to guarantee citizens’ rights.

There are still a number of points that need more work:
o family reunification;
o the right to export social security benefits;
o and the role of the European Court of justice in guaranteeing consistent application of case law in the UK and in the EU.

These three issues are important for people, as the European Parliament has also stressed.

We will continue our dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

We have to ensure a common reading, the same reading, of the conditions, consequences and implications of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area. This should lead us to identify the technical and regulatory solutions necessary to prevent a hard border, while preserving the integrity of the Single Market. As David and I told you last time, the unique situation on the island of Ireland requires specific solutions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

On the financial settlement, we must now work on the precise translation of the commitments made by Prime Minister May in her Florence speech. I repeat that this is an essential condition to reach sufficient progress in December. Once again, I repeat that this – as in any separation – is about settling the accounts.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union over 500 days ago. And it will leave the Union on 29 March 2019 at midnight, Brussels time. And to reach our common goal – that of organising an orderly withdrawal with an agremeent – we are going to have to work intensively over the coming weeks, before the next European Council.

Thank you.

Statement by David Davis.

Thank you, Michel.

Last month I welcomed Michel’s recognition of the new dynamic in the talks created by the Prime Minister’s Florence speech. That speech set out a clear and pragmatic approach to securing an agreement that works for both the United Kingdom and the European Union. One that heralds a new era of cooperation and partnership between us.

During the October discussions we isolated the key remaining issues on Citizens’ Rights, Northern Ireland, and the Financial Settlement as Michel has just told you. So this week our focus has been on finding solutions to those issues. It was, of course, inevitable that our discussions would narrow to a few outstanding – albeit important – issues.

So we have continued to work through these remaining issues – consolidating the progress we’ve made since June and exploring options for reaching agreement. And now is the time for both sides to move together to seek solutions.

This is a serious business. If we are to find a way forward it will require flexibility and pragmatism from both sides as I think Michel also stressed.We have been clear with the EU that we are willing to engage in discussions in a flexible and constructive way to reach the progress needed.I will now address each issue in turn.

Northern Ireland
On Northern Ireland we have continued to have good, technical discussions.We have drafted joint principles on the continuation of the Common Travel Area and associated rights. We have continued to explore how best we preserve North-South cooperation. And we are drafting joint principles and commitments which will guide the solutions drawn up in the second phase.

We have also had frank discussions about some of the big challenges around the border. We remain firmly committed to avoiding any physical infrastructure and we have been clear about that this week.

These discussions will of course continue in the run-up to the December Council but let’s be under no illusion. We will only be able to conclude them finally in the context of the future relationship. We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and Customs Union. But that cannot come at cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom.

As I have said before, we recognise the need for specific solutions for the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. But let me be clear.
This cannot amount to creating a new border inside our United Kingdom. Now in this process, we are resolutely committed to upholding the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, in all its parts. We need to approach the challenging issues that arise as part of this process in a spirit of pragmatism, creativity and with a high degree of political sensitivity. We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland and of Ireland to do so.

Citizens’ Rights
We have continued to make progress on Citizen’s Rights. We are now seeking political solutions to the last outstanding issues on both sides. Earlier this week as Michel said, we published a detailed note setting out our new administrative procedures for European Union citizens seeking settled status in the UK. This delivers on a commitment I made in the last round of negotiations and discussed in the press conference too.

We listened carefully to the concerns raised about this process and we’ve responded. As our paper sets out, the new procedures will be as streamlined and straight-forward as possible and will be based on simple, transparent criteria laid out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

This week, we have discussed options for resolving issues ranging from family reunification to the export of benefits. For example, we have been clear that we are willing to consider what further reassurance we can give to existing families – even if they are not currently living together in the UK. There are a few areas where our citizens need to see further progress and movement from the European Union.

On the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, the European Union’s approach remains more narrow than we would like. We believe it is only right that people holding qualifications or in the process of acquiring them should be allowed to continue or begin their careers as they do now. We want to protect their livelihoods in line with our broader approach that people should be able to continue living their lives as they do now.

On voting rights, we are disappointed that the EU has been unwilling so far to include this in the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement. As citizens may lose a right which they currently enjoy. However, if it does fall out of scope, we will discuss this issue bilaterally with Member States.

Finally, this week we have sought to give further clarity on our commitment to incorporate the agreement on Citizen’s Rights into UK law. This will ensure that EU citizens in the UK can directly enforce their rights in UK courts – providing certainty and clarity in the long term. We have made clear that, over time, our courts can take account of the rulings of the European Court of Justice in this area, to help ensure consistent interpretation. But let me be clear, while we share the same aims, it remains a key priority for the United Kingdom, as we leave the European Union, to preserve the sovereignty of its courts.

Financial Settlement

On the financial settlement we have made substantial technical progress across all the issues that will need to be addressed. The Prime Minister was clear in her Florence speech. But let me reiterate once again. Our European Partners will not 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 the commitments we have made during the period of our membership. We are making clear progress in building a common technical understanding on every item.


But as I outlined at the start – this week has enabled us to consolidate the progress of earlier negotiating rounds and to draw out those areas where further political and technical discussion is required. This is now about moving into the political discussions that will enable both of us to move forward together.

We must now look ahead to moving our discussions onto our future relationship.

For this to happen, both parties need to build confidence in both the process and indeed in the shared outcome. And we remain ready and willing to engage as often and as quickly as needed to secure this outcome over the weeks remaining ahead of the December European Council.

The United Kingdom will continue to engage and negotiate constructively as we have done since the start. But we need to see flexibility, imagination and willingness to make progress on both sides if these negotiations are to succeed and we are able to realise our new deep and special partnership.

From the text of these statements it’s possible to draw your own conclusions about how negotiations are progressing.

In questions from the press after the statements were made, Barnier suggested that the UK would have to clarify its position (concede to EU demands?) in the next 2 weeks on what it would pay to settle its obligations to the EU if the talks were to have achieved “sufficient progress” ahead of December’s European Council meeting.

David Davis – Statement at end of Round 5 negotiations

David Davis made the following statement during the press conference following the end of the fifth round of Brexit negotiations.

Thank you Michel.

At the last round of talks we spoke of a new dynamic and Michel has referred to that. Our negotiating teams have continued to work constructively together in a professional and determined manner this week. And they have developed, as Michel says, an increased sense of shared political objectives.

Now while there is still work to be done, much work to be done, we have come a long way. And it is important to recognise the significant progress we have made since June. Let me, as Michael did, take the issues in turn.

Citizens rights

On citizens rights, we have made further progress to give British citizens in the EU and EU27 citizens in the UK the greatest possible legal certainty about the future. Our legal orders will, in the future, be distinct and different. So this week we explored ways of making sure the rights we agree now will be enforced in a fair and equivalent way. And in a way that gives citizens confidence that their rights will be upheld.

We have also explored ways in which we could fulfil the Prime Minister’s commitment to implement the Withdrawal Treaty fully into UK law which would give confidence to EU citizens living in the UK that they would be able to enforce their rights, as are set out in the Agreement, in UK courts. And we have discussed ways of ensuring the consistent interpretation of the concepts of EU law that will underpin much of our Agreement.

While we have not yet arrived at a single model that achieves this we have explored creative solutions and are confident that we’ll reach an agreement soon. We have also focussed this week on the other remaining issues on which we have not yet arrived at a solution and Michel referred to a few of them. These are:

  • the right to bring in future family members
  • to export a range of benefits
  • to continue to enjoy the recognition of professional qualifications
  • to vote in local elections
  • to move within the 27 as a UK citizen
  • to leave for a prolonged period and yet continue to enjoy a right to remain or permanent right of residence on return

These issues are not easy, but we have approached them with a shared spirit of trying to find solutions and both teams will now reflect further on that. We are taking a pragmatic approach. As demonstrated by our offer of a guaranteed right of return for settled citizens in the UK in return for onward movement rights for UK citizens currently living in the EU. We look forward to hearing the European Union’s response to this.

I want to highlight one particularly productive area of our talks this week.

And I recognise that there has been some anxiety about EU citizens rights to settled status in the United Kingdom. But today I can confirm that we want to reassure those European citizens living in the UK that their rights and status will be enshrined in UK law by the Withdrawal Agreement. And yes, there will be a registration process but the administration process will be completely new. It will be streamlined, and it will be low cost.

And in addition to that any EU citizen in the UK already in possession of a permanent residence card will be able to exchange it simply for settled status in a simple way. They will not have to go through the full application process again. And to reassure those affected I can confirm that the tests associated with this process will be agreed and set out in our Withdrawal Agreement. We will also make sure that citizens rights of review of – and redress for – any errors will be quick, accessible and fair.

I will set out our position on ensuring citizens’ future rights in a statement for the Commission, a written statement, which they can share with the European Union 27.

And as a result of our productive discussions, the Commission is also able to offer similar guarantees in return for those British citizens in the European Union.

This is a very welcome clarification and has built real confidence that the rights of EU citizens in the UK – and British citizens in the European Union – will continue to be accessible in the most straightforward way possible. In summary, I think that this week of talks has brought us even closer to a deal that gives citizens rights to the legal certainty that they deserve.

Northern Ireland

I welcome the advances too that we have made on the discussions on Northern Ireland and Ireland.

This week we developed the joint principles on the continuation of the Common Travel Area. Our teams have also mapped out areas of cooperation that operate on a North South basis.

As Michel said, there is more work to do here in order to build a fuller picture of how we overcome the challenges to North-South cooperation once the UK has left the European Union. But I’m pleased to say we have made further progress here.

We have also agreed, based on critical guiding principles which both sides recognise, we will start working on a common understanding on possible commitments and undertakings necessary to effectively protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions.

I said last time that we were determined to tackle the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland by focusing creatively on specific solutions and we have begun to do so. As the Prime Minister said in her statement to Parliament this week, “We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland—and indeed to everyone on the island of Ireland—to get this right.”

Financial settlement

On the financial settlement, we have continued in the spirit fostered by the Prime Minister’s significant statements in her Florence speech.

In line with the process agreed at our last round of talks, we have undertaken a rigorous examination of the technical detail where we need to reach a shared view.

This is not a process of agreeing specific commitments – we have been clear this can only come later.

But it is an important step, so that when the time comes we will be able to reach a political agreement quickly and simply.

Separation issues

On separation issues we have continued to work through the detail on a range of issues.

And while we have made good progress, particularly on those areas relating purely to our withdrawal, we believe these issues are dependent on discussions on our future relationship. And as I’ve said before, we are ready and well-prepared to start those discussions.


So, our aim is to provide as much certainty as possible to business, citizens and the European Union. And on this we are making real and tangible progress. But I make no secret of the fact that to provide certainty we must talk about the future.

The Prime Minister’s speech set out the scale of our ambition for our deep and special partnership with the European Union. And also laid out the case for a simple, clear and time-limited period of implementation on current terms.

As I said when I stood here last time, I hope the leaders of the 27 will provide Michel with the means to explore ways forward with us on that. And to build on the spirit of cooperation we now have.

I have always been clear that we would enter these negotiations in a constructive and responsible way.

The work of our teams and the substantial progress that we have made over recent months proves we are doing just that. As we look to the October European Council next week, I hope the Member States will recognise the progress we have made, and take a step forward in the spirit of the Prime Minister’s Florence speech. Doing so will allow us to best achieve our joint objectives by turning the ideas we have explored into concrete shared proposals. That’s the way that we’ll move towards a deal that works for both the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Brexit Negotiations 4 – Press Conference, David Davis

The usual press conference was held at the end of the 4th Round of Brexit Negotiations between the UK and the EU held from the 25th to the 28th September 2017.

David Davis said:

There is no doubting that this was a vital round of negotiations,taking place just days after an important intervention by the British Prime Minister.

Theresa May’s speech in Florence had at its heart a desire to drive progress this week. It was intended to change the dynamic and instil real momentum.,It set out a clear, pragmatic approach designed to help secure an agreement that works for all sides.,It built on the hugely significant work that has gone on across Government over the last year that has seen us publish 14 papers covering technical negotiation detail and the United Kingdom’s vision for the future relationship, the Article 50 letter and two crucial White Papers.

So this week my negotiating team came to Brussels armed with the detailed thinking that underpins the proposals set out by the Prime Minister. And while, inevitably, this requires further discussion, I believe that thanks to the constructive and determined manner with which both sides have conducted these negotiations we are making decisive steps forward.

After four rounds, when I look across the full range of issues to do with our withdrawal from the EU, I am clear that we have made considerable progress on the issues that matter:

  • Increasing certainty for citizens and businesses.
  • Providing reassurance to our EU partners in regards to our mutual financial obligations.
  • And agreeing on some of the key principles in relation to the issues arising for Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Now I make no secret of wanting to talk about the future, and the importance of this to business and citizens both in the European Union and the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister’s speech sets out the scale of our ambition here as well as our proposal for a simple, clear, time-limited period of implementation. This period, based on current terms, will ensure people, businesses and public services only have to plan for one set of changes. I believe this should be quick to agree, once Michel has a mandate to explore it with us.

As the Prime Minister said last week, our shared future can only be founded on partnership, friendship and most importantly trust. This is what discussions this week have been about. Which brings me to the detail of our discussions.

Citizens’ rights
On citizens’ rights, we have made real progress on issues which will enable citizens on both sides to continue to live their lives broadly as they do now. We will publish an updated table later today which shows many areas of agreement. So I am pleased to report that we have have agreed most aspects of social security coordination, building on the progress in the last round, which I told you about last time.

The United Kingdom thinks that in some cases we must go beyond the strict requirements of current EU law in order to protect citizens. For example we have offered the European Union guaranteed rights of return for settled EU citizens in the UK, in return for onward movement rights, right for onward movement, for our UK nationals who currently live within the EU27. And I look forward to the response of the Commission to this offer, once they have consulted with the Member States.

But we must also acknowledge that a major question remains open between us – it relates to the enforcement of citizens’ rights after we leave the European Union. The UK has been clear that, as a third country outside of the European Union, it would not be right for this role to be performed by the European Court of Justice. But we have listened to the concerns that have been raised – and as a direct result of hearing those concerns the United Kingdom has committed to incorporating the final withdrawal agreement fully into UK law. Direct effect if you like. We also recognise the need to ensure the consistent interpretation of EU law concepts.

We have not agreed the right mechanism for doing this yet but discussions this week have again been productive.

And we have provided further reassurance on how European Union citizens will be able to apply for a new status, once we leave. And we know that those already holding permanent residency documents should not have to go through the full process. So we presented early thinking on detailed processes and plans on how we might ensure this does not happen.

It’s all about providing certainty, clarity and stability for EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU27. And represents pragmatic compromises to our shared challenge of ending anxiety for those citizens. The shape of a deal is becoming clearer. We need to continue to work to address this in the interest of citizens on both sides.

Financial settlement
In her recent speech, the Prime Minister reassured our European partners they’ll not need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current EU budget plan, as a result of our decision to leave. The UK has explained this reassurance in detail to the Commission.

The Prime Minister also made clear that the UK will honour its commitments made during the period of our membership. We are not yet at the stage of specifying exactly what these commitments are. That will need to come later. Nevertheless, our negotiating teams have held very constructive discussions this week on detailed technical issues relating to that. This work is necessary so that when the time comes we will be able to reach a political agreement. And discussions will continue.

On the issues that arise from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in relation to Northern Ireland and Ireland, we have had a constructive discussion and made progress in some areas.

Both sides recognise that the unique situation and the special circumstances on the island of Ireland must fully inform any solutions. We welcome the EU’s recent guiding principles paper which reaffirms the high degree of alignment between us on this vital strand.

Specifically, this week, we have begun drafting joint principles on preserving the Common Travel Area and associated rights. We have both agreed that the Good Friday Agreement citizenship rights must be upheld and we are working together on how this commitment is best codified.

The joint work which we agreed in the August negotiating round on preserving the North-South cooperation strand is moving along at pace. We are addressing complex issues here but both are resolved to finding imaginative solutions. We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland – and across the island of Ireland – to see these commitments through.

Separation issues
We remain firmly committed to making as much progress as possible on those issues that are related to our withdrawal from the EU institutions and must be resolved before our departure from the European Union.

I am encouraged by the progress we have made this week on issues relating to Euratom. The EU welcomed our clear statement that we will maintain the same standards in our future nuclear safeguards regime which will be run by our existing nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation. We are now close to reaching agreement on the vast majority of issues set out in our position papers on this issue. Of course, we want to have a close and effective relationship with Euratom in the future and the best way to secure that is to press on with discussions on the details of this new partnership.

On a number of other issues – goods, union and Member State procedures, privileges and immunities and ongoing confidentiality obligations – we have had constructive discussion on technical issues and in some areas, reached agreement on the core issues.

At the beginning of the week, I mentioned the UK’s real and ongoing commitment to our European friends and allies. Our commitment to that ideal has been clear in these negotiations on those issues which relate to our departure from the institutions.

As I said at the start — this round was a vital one.

We’ve made important progress and capitalised on the momentum created by the Prime Minister’s speech.

We are working quickly through a number of complex issues, yet there remain some points where further discussion – and pragmatism – will be required to reach agreement. It is true that there are differences of opinion. But with the continued diligence and creativity of our teams, I am confident we can resolve these.

While the UK’s departure from the European Union is inevitably a complex process, it is in all of our interests for these negotiations to succeed. We must never forget the bigger picture. Britain wants to be the European Union’s strongest friend and partner. We want us both to thrive side by side.

I leave Brussels optimistic about this future and I look forward to continuing the negotiations.

Thank you.


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.


http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-3461_en.pdf (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.


Brexit Talks – Update to UK Parliament on Sep 6 2017

David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, made a statement to the House of Commons on 5th September 2017 regarding negotiations with the EU which took place in July and August 2017.

The main topics discussed were

  • Citizens Rights
  • Separation issues
  • Ireland/Northern Ireland
  • Financial settlement

Citizens Rights

In July we achieved a high degree of convergence on:
The scope of our proposals on residence and social security;
The eligibility criteria for those who will benefit from residence rights under the scope of the withdrawal agreement
A shared commitment to make the citizens’ rights application process as efficient and streamlined as possible.

In August we agreed:

To protect the rights of frontier workers;
To cover future social security contributions for those citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement
To maintain the right of British citizens in the EU27 to set up and manage a business within their Member State of residence, and visa versa and
That we should at least protect existing healthcare rights and arrangements for EU27 citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. These are the European Health Insurance or ‘EHIC’ arrangements.

While it appears that the EHIC scheme will be retained for UK citizens present in the EU and vice-versa at the time of Brexit, it is unclear, whether the current scheme will be continued for travellers from the UK to the EU and vice-versa following Brexit.

Joint technical papers have been published, following the discussions in July and August, which set out the respective positions of the UK and EU in more detail covering points of agreement, differing points of view and those requiring further discussion.

Joint technical note(s) on the comparison of EU-UK positions on citizens’ rights

Ireland/Northern Ireland

The negotiation Coordinators explored a number of issues, including both the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area….

…The key issues in relation to cross-border economic co-operation and energy will need to form an integral part of discussions on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Financial settlement

We have been clear that the UK and the EU will have financial obligations to each other that will survive our exit from the EU….

…It is clear that the two sides have very different legal stances. But as we said in the Article 50 letter, the settlement should be in accordance with law and in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU.

Separation issues

On separation issues, a very technical area, we have established a number of sub-groups. They made progress in a number of specific areas, and drew on papers the UK published ahead of both rounds…

…We remain committed to making as much progress as possible on those issues which are solely related to our withdrawal, but our discussions this week have exposed yet again that the UK’s approach is substantially more flexible and pragmatic than that of the EU as it avoids unnecessary disruption for British business and consumers.

I have urged the EU to be more imaginative and flexible in their approach to withdrawal on this point.

The statement also includes brief comments on the issues of Governance and dispute resolution and the Future Partnership with the EU and mentions the Policy and Papers recently issued by the government.

The full statement is available at