Michel Barnier gets passive-aggressive over Brexit talks progress as he insists EU has been "clear and transparent since day one"

Catherine Neilan
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EU Brexit Negotiator Visits The Border Between Northern Ireland And Ireland
Barnier claims the EU has always been transparent and willing to make progress on Brexit talks (Source: Getty)

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has issued a series of passive-aggressive tweets, insisting his side has been "clear and transparent since day one".

In apparent response to the flurry of position papers being currently published by David Davis' Department for Exiting the EU (DexEU), Barnier argued that the EU27 had made its stance clear months ago.

In a series of tweets, he outlined the bloc's positions on nine key areas, including goods on the market - which was the subject of a UK position paper yesterday - and civil judiciary - which is today's topic. He also tweeted the EU's stance on citizens rights and the financial settlement, which are currently under discussion.

Barnier indicated that he was in agreement with Slovenian Prime Minister Milo Cerar, who yesterday claimed not enough progress had been made on those areas, and the Irish border question, to broaden the negotiations out to trade and other areas.

Cerar suggested the EU Council, on which he sits, would not unanimously approve the extension of discussions by the hoped-for deadline of October, meaning it could be pushed back to December or even the beginning of 2018.

Barnier, who has not yet confirmed this, last night said it was "essential to make progress" on the first three topics.

"Looking forward to discussing these papers with #UK. Essential to make progress on #citizensrights, settling accounts and #Ireland," he tweeted.

The IoD's Allie Renison told City A.M. the next round of talks, due to take place next week, would reveal which side had more "urgency".

"It's been hard to figure out until now, because everything is so interrelated, but next week we should be able to see whether it's the commission being obstinate in refusing to talk about trade or the UK dragging its feet."

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