David Davis hailed ‘decisive steps forward’ today after the latest round of Brexit negotiations.
Standing alongside the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, Mr Davis said the talks this week had made ‘considerable progress on the issues that matter’.
The Brexit Secretary said there had been advances on citizens’ rights and dispute resolution mechanisms – and the UK ‘made no secret’ about its desire to move on to trade discussions.
Standing alongside the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, Mr Davis said the talks this week had made ‘considerable progress on the issues that matter’
He also repeated that Britain was ready to honour the financial ‘obligations’ entered into during its membership of the bloc – a key concession made by Theresa May in her Florence speech last week.
But Mr Barnier warned that the two sides were ‘not there yet’, and despite praising a ‘new climate’ demanded more compromise from the UK over the divorce bill and role for the European court.
He said it could take ‘weeks or even months’ to reach the point where trade talks can begin.
At the start of discussions on Monday, Mr Davis said there were ‘no excuses’ for standing in the way of progress in the exit process following Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech in Florence.
But Mr Barnier struck a more cautious tone, insisting real progress on the divorce bill, citizens’ rights and the Irish border was ‘essential’ to move on the discussions.
Mr Barnier insisted today that Britain must go further on key aspects of the talks.
He said the UK was refusing to make any specific financial commitments beyond 2019-20 – when Mrs May has indicated she wants a post-Brexit transition on terms almost the same as the existing ones.
‘The only way to reach sufficient progress is that all commitments undertaken at 28 are hooured at (27),’ Mr Barnier said.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, is expected to speak at an event hosted by the LSE.
Mrs May has insisted Britain will ‘take back control’ of its laws but critics say it will be impossible to avoid European judges having a role in enforcing new agreements drawn up with the EU.
Mr Davis and Mr Barnier were giving a joint press conference in Brussels after the latest round of talks
It would deal with the rights of EU citizens but its remit could be extended to cover other treaty-based rights under the free trade agreement which the Government is trying to negotiate with the EU, according to the group.
Conservative Suella Fernandes, who chairs the Conservative European Research Group of Brexit-backing MPs, said: ‘We will need to find a new way of working with the EU that allows both sides certainty and fairness when it comes to who interprets treaties.
‘The creation of an International Treaties Court in the UK would avoid the pitfalls of the ECJ’s integrationist tendencies, restore UK sovereignty, while through coordination with its ECJ counterpart allow certainty for those relying on UK and EU obligations.’