Brussels, July 20 (IANS) The European Union and Britain failed to bridge their differences on key Brexit issues, including financial settlement and the jurisdiction of overseas citizens, as the second round of negotiations concluded here on Thursday.
The negotiations came as 27 EU member states have strengthened their unity over Brexit compared to a more divided British Cabinet led by Prime Minister Theresa May, who is currently under fire both in her Conservative party and British society.
During the press conference following the negotiations, David Davis, Britain’s Brexit secretary, and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier, carefully chose their words to gauge their differences.
But when it came to financial settlements, Barnier’s message was stern: “We want — and we are working towards — an orderly exit from the United Kingdom… and an orderly exit requires the payment of the accounts,” Xinhua reported.
He called on London to clarify the nature of its commitments on the issue.
Meanwhile, Davis concentrated on the obligations shared by the two sides.
Hailing the talks as “robust” but “constructive”, Davis said the respective sides recognized the importance of sorting out the obligations that Britain and EU have to one another.
“Ultimately, getting to a solution will require flexibility from both sides,” said the secretary.
As for the issue of citizens’ rights, Barnier said: “We are now moving in a common direction. But there remains a fundamental divergence on how to guarantee these rights, and on several other points, such as the rights of future members of the family or the export of certain social benefits.”
“Citizens must be able to find in the withdrawal agreement itself the legal certainty they need in their daily lives,” said Barnier.
“And of course, any reference to European rights implies its control by the Court of Justice of the European Union.”
Davis said: “We agreed on the need for certainty on the part of citizens both the EU and the UK, we obviously have different views on how we achieve that”
The highly anticipated second round of Brexit talks kicked off on Monday at the EU Commission headquarters. There were three negotiating groups covering citizens’ rights, financial settlement, and other separation issues. The issues related to Northern Ireland and the governance of the withdrawal agreement fell to the coordinators.