Ready to accelerate Brexit talks, says European Union chief negotiator Barnier

Monday, 11 Sep, 2017

The EU commission paper is actually entitled "guiding principles", while all the others are "position papers".

Often accused of rigid thinking on Brexit, the European Union in the paper echoes Britain in calling for "flexible and imaginative solutions" on Ireland, "including with the aim of avoiding a hard border".

The EU will release a series of position papers as the United Kingdom parliament debates legislation which will turn all existing EU laws into domestic ones.

He said 'in my view, the only way to resolve the border conundrum is for Northern Ireland to be within the same customs union and single market as the Republic...'

This argument was laid out in a position paper on the Irish border issue published in the run-up to a new round of negotiations in Brussels last month. And the UK wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future EU-UK customs relations.

Despite Mr Johnson's unwavering faith in the possibility of a trade deal, the EU's negotiators have expressed displeasure at the way talks over the divorce bill are progressing. "He noted in this regard that David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, did not regard his direct involvement in these negotiations as his priority".

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told journalists in Belfast that if talks to form a power-sharing government failed "there can be no British-only direct rule", adding that this was Irish government policy.

Ex-Secretary of State for the North, Peter Hain, has warned the British government's "cynical" tactic of lumbering Brussels and Dublin with responsbility for any future hard border between Derry and Donegal is "a very risky game to play with the peace process".

Mr Barnier says "a lot more substantial work" is needed on the border issue.

"The EU is saying that the United Kingdom created the problem and therefore has some responsibility to finding a solution", he said. Creativity and flexibility can not be at expense of integrity of the single market.

The unnamed spokesman said the paper offers "a good basis on which to continue to make swift progress" in the negotiations.

The EU has also published its position on procurement, data protection, customs issues, intellectual property, and geographical indicators.

"We welcome the opportunity to discuss the points that have been made to us in the evidence we have taken so far and to raise our concerns about the impact of Brexit in Scotland".

"This gives us a chance to hear first-hand about the progress of the negotiations and the respective positions of the European Union and the UK".