Barnier tells UK: Make your Brexit position papers clearer

Catherine Neilan
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Barnier said: "To be honest, I'm concerned. Time passes quickly." (Source: Getty)

The European Union's chief negotiator has reopened Brexit talks saying he is "concerned" about the little progress made so far, calling on the UK to give greater clarity to its positions.

Welcoming Brexit secretary David Davis back to Brussels yesterday, Michel Barnier told reporters he and his team had read the many position papers published by the UK government "very carefully" but said they still did not go far enough.

He said: "To be honest, I'm concerned. Time passes quickly.... We need the United Kingdom's positions on all the separation issues. This is necessary to make sufficient progress. We must start negotiating seriously."

Barnier added:

We need UK papers that are clear in order to have constructive negotiations, and the sooner we remove the ambiguity the sooner we will be in a position to discuss the future relationship and transitional period. The EC guidelines are clear about what is expected on separation, transition, and conditions for the future relationship

"The EU27 and European Parliament stand united," Barnier said. "They will not accept that separation issues are not addressed properly. I am ready to intensify negotiations over the coming weeks in order to advance."

Davis responded by saying the UK wanted to "lock in the areas where we agree, unpick the areas where we don’t and make progress across a whole range of issues".

"We want to agree a deal that works in best interest of both the UK and the EU," he added.

The City is hoping both sides will agree a transitional deal during this set of talks, warning of that unless an agreement is in place before Christmas, widespread damage will be wrought on the financial district.

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