Rift deepens between Britain and European Union as talks reach no agreement
19 October 2017
Twenty-seven European Union leaders will today inform British Prime Minister Theresa May that after five rounds of negotiations over the terms of its exit from the EU, the UK needs to make further concessions.
At the beginning of negotiations six months ago, today’s annual summit of the European Council was set as the date by which it was expected agreement on the first round of talks would have been concluded.
A draft statement released last week, agreed by the European Council (EC), representing the 27 other member countries, states that agreement has not been reached with the UK on the three areas it stipulated when it issued its hard-line Brexit negotiating strategy in April.
The EC stated then that in order to progress to an agreement over a future trading relationship with the UK, the following issues had to be resolved:
* The residency rights of EU and UK citizens post-Brexit.
* The UK payment to the EU as part of its “divorce” settlement.
* An agreement avoiding the creation of a “hard” border between the Irish Republic—which is an EU member—and Northern Ireland.
In its draft statement, the EC says only that some progress has been made regarding EU citizens’ rights and calls on the UK, “to build on the convergence achieved so as to provide the necessary legal certainty and guarantees to all concerned citizens and their family members who shall be able to exercise directly the rights protected by the withdrawal agreement…”
On the Irish border issue, it notes only there has been “some progress on convergence on principles and objectives …” As regards the “avoidance of a hard border,” the EC declares it expects “the UK to present…