Home NEWS Brexit news: Barnier admits UK and EU are at ‘DISTURBING deadlock’ but STILL refuses | Politics | News

Brexit news: Barnier admits UK and EU are at ‘DISTURBING deadlock’ but STILL refuses | Politics | News

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  • Mr Davis said the Government is still keen to move discussions on to a future trade deal.
  • Brussels negotiator Mr Barnier repeatedly warned he needs concrete progress on EU citizens’ rights, the UK’s divorce payments and the Irish border before moving to the next stage.
  • He told the conference there could be “no concessions” on these issues and branded the lack of movement on payments “disturbing”.
  • Mr Barnier said he thought sufficient progress could be made by Christmas.

Here is how the the joint Brexit press conference between Mr Davis and Mr Barnier played out:

12:06pm:

The press conference has wrapped up with both sides saying some progress has been made.

But the main development was a frustrated Mr Barnier hit out at a “disturbing” lack of movement on the UK’s divorce bill, saying the sides had reached “deadlock”.

Despite Mr Davis saying he still hoped the talks would be allowed to move on to a future relationship, Mr Barnier appeared to rule this out.

He repeatedly said agreement was needed on the EU’s red line issues – the bill, EU citizens’ rights and the Irish border – while ruling out concessions from Brussels on all three.

12:02pm:

The men were asked what they were doing that was “so badly wrong” for the negotiations to have stalled.

Mr Barnier repeated his mantra about progress on citizens’ rights having to be achieved first.

Mr Davis said there were points of tension in all negotiations but both sides had to look at what was mutually beneficial.

11:57am:

Asked about the lack of progress, Mr Davis said he wanted the European Council to give Mr Barnier the remit to discuss trade.

But Mr Barnier said that free trade would be discussed “when the time comes while respecting the integrity of the Single Market”.

But he again said sorting out conditions for an “orderly withdrawal” must be done first.

11:53am:

Both men have been asked about the prospect of a “no deal”.

Mr Davis insisted that the negotiations should lead to a good deal but admitted the Government needed to be prepared for no agreement.

Mr Barnier branded the prospect of no deal a bad one.

11:50am:

The Brexit Secretary admitted there was more work to do on Ireland but they had agreed to common undertakings to protect the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Davis said work still needed to be done on the future relationship and he hoped there could be quick progress on that. 

11:47am:

David Davis said the UK and EU had not reached agreement on citizens’ rights enforcement but any withdrawal would be implemented into UK law.

He said there would be an administration process that was simple and cheap.

11:42am:

Mr Barnier said “decisive progress is within our grasp over the next two months”.

He said talks would continue, with the hope of a breakthrough by Christmas.

11:39am:

Mr Barnier said the “deadlock” on payments was “disturbing”.

He said the EU was not able to start discussing the future relationship.

Mr Barnier said the EU needed “confidence and clarity” on its red lines.

He added there was “no question of making concessions” on any of the issues.

11:36am:

On citizens’ rights, he said the two sides were still divided on family reunification and the export of benefits.

he said any Eu citizen should be able to bring his parents to where he lived.

On Ireland, he said both sides had reached agreement on the common travel area but there was more work to do.

11:32am:

Mr Barnier has begun speaking saying talks had been “constructive” without “any great step forward”.

He said both sides “share the same objectives” but he stressed again the key objectives of payments, citizens’ rights and the Irish border.

11:25am:

The briefing has been delayed slightly by a pro-EU protester dressed as Supergirl.

She has just been removed from the conference room.

11:10am:

Ahead of the conference, Liam Fox has been speaking to the Commons about “positive” developments in future trade deals.

He said that a number of transitional trade deals between Britain and members of the Brussels bloc could kick in for a two-year transitional period after Brexit D-Day in March 2019.

And he says the government is working to confirm as many trade deals as possible over the next two years, provided other governments are willing to cooperate.

Mr Fox also said there was “no difference” between him and Chancellor Philip Hammond over paying out in case of no deal with Brussels.

10:55am:

The press conference to get underway in around 20 minutes.

It is unclear how much of an update the two men will be able to provide as there are reports that negotiations are still stuck.

One official told the Financial Times today that talks had reached a standstill with “no progress” at all. 

Theresa May assured MPs this week that contingency plans were being worked up in case the UK crashed out of the bloc with no deal in place.

That came despite warnings from under-fire Chancellor Philip Hammond that he was not prepared to spend vast amounts of money preparing for a “no deal” Brexit.

On Tuesday, European Council president Donald Tusk became the latest senior figure to warn the negotiations had not advanced sufficiently to move onto the second phase, including a new free trade deal.

Mr Barnier is due to brief the leaders of the other 27 EU member states on the state of the negotiations when they meet next week for a summit in the Belgian capital.

In her Florence speech, Mrs May sought to reassure other EU leaders that the UK would fully honour its outstanding obligations while continuing to pay into the EU budget during a proposed two-year transition.

However, there is frustration in Brussels that Mr Davis has so far been unwilling to put an actual figure on the divorce bill.

The Florence speech led to a more amicable atmosphere from the Brexit Secretary and his Mr Barnier at their last appearance together.

It followed a previous press conference was notable for its frosty nature, with Mr Barnier hitting out at Britain’s approach to talks.

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