British Prime Minister Theresa May should make the EU firm offers by next week to break deadlock in Brexit talks if she intends for an orderly withdrawal and transition to a new relationship, the bloc’s top negotiator.
Speaking to the Italian parliament on the eve of a speech that May will deliver in Florence, Michel Barnier said he was wondering why there was still “major uncertainty” on all key issues Brussels wanted settled before opening talks on the transition to a future trade deal it expects her to ask for.
“To make progress, we are waiting for clear commitments from the UK on these precise issues,” Barnier said, noting demands for European Union citizens in Britain to have their rights there protected by EU courts and for London to pay a hefty bill before leaving.
“We will listen attentively and constructively to Theresa May’s important speech tomorrow in Florence,” added Barnier, who holds a new round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels next week.
“A rapid agreement on the conditions of the UK’s orderly withdrawal, and a transition period, is possible … For that to happen, we would like the United Kingdom to put on the table, as soon as next week, proposals to overcome the barriers.”
An agreement on orderly withdrawal was “a precondition for any constructive and trustworthy discussion on our future relationship with the United Kingdom.”