The EU’s Brexit negotiator has pressed the U.K. once again to move fast with its talks to leave the bloc.
Michel Barnier told reporters in Brussels Friday that the U.K. needs to clarify its position in the next two weeks in other to kick off trade talks in December.
The EU and the U.K. concluded another round of Brexit talks but there are still several key issues to fix, including its exit bill — this is how much the U.K. needs to pay to fulfill its remaining obligations to the bloc. Without agreements on these issues by December, it becomes harder to foresee how both will cooperate once the U.K. leaves the EU in March 2019.
“We need to work further on a number of points,” Barnier said, adding that settling the accounts is “vital” before they can move on to trade talks.
The EU and the U.K. have been in negotiations since June. They had initially planned to start trade talks in October, but political differences over how much the U.K. needs to pay before leaving the Union, how will the Irish border work after Brexit and what rights will EU citizens have in the U.K., have derailed the process.
This has prolonged uncertainty for businesses and people, which may affect investment and personal decisions in both the U.K. and in Europe.
“We want to bring back certainty, in particular legal certainty,” Barnier said.
The U.K.’s negotiator David Davis asked the EU to be more flexible and more pragmatic to help advance the talks.
He told reporters that it’s time to move into “political discussions” to ensure that trade talks start in December.