UK Keen To Push Brexit Negotiations Forward In Next Round Of Talks

British negotiators say they are now ready to move to the next phase of Brexit talks, and to set out details of the future relationship that Great Britain wants with the European Union. 

Opening rounds of talks with Brussels have made little headway so far, with EU negotiators demanding greater clarity from the British delegation, and warning that an already-tight timetable could be delayed ahead of a scheduled March 2019 exit. 

However, whilst Britain is keen to start talking about its post-Brexit relationship with Europe, until now Brussels has closed down negotiations, focussing on its demand for a financial settlement, without which, many say, the union will face economic troubles.

“We’ve been crystal clear that issues around our withdrawal and our future partnership are inextricably linked, and the negotiations so far have reinforced that view,” a source in Britain’s Brexit department said, according to Reuters.

London is preparing to publish several papers, including plans for a new customs arrangement and a proposal on how to resolve the difficulties of a non-physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

“These papers show we are ready to broaden out the negotiations,” the source said. 

The next round of talks is due at the end of the month, with both sides looking for progress towards a solution to three of Brexit’s thorniest problems: how much Britain should pay to leave, what rights British and EU citizens will have, and how to manage a land border to the bloc in Ireland. 

The decision to announce the publications indicates Britain’s desire to counter criticism from Brussels about its approach to the talks. 

In July, EU officials said progress was difficult not because Britain had unacceptable demands, but because it had no position at all on many issues. 

A British paper focused on “issues unique to Northern Ireland and Ireland” is expected to be released ahead of the talks, but no further details of the proposal have been provided at the time of writing. 

Separate papers would also address “Continuity in the availability of goods for the EU and the UK” and “Confidentiality and access to official documents”, the government’s Brexit department said. 

Keen to transcend the thorny divorce issues and to concentrate on future trading and legal aspects of the negotiation, Britain also promised a series of “Future Partnership” papers in the run-up to October’s European Council. 

The first is expected to be a proposal for new customs arrangements.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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