The EU and the UK have made progress in the latest round of their divorce talks, according to those involved.
However, not enough has been made to move on to the next phase of discussions on a transition period after Brexit, or a future trade deal.
This week’s round of negotiations follows a speech in Florence by UK Prime Minister Theresa May. In it, she made some concessions, in the hope of unblocking the three-month-old talks and paving the way for the EU to open discussions on a post-Brexit free trade deal.
A new dynamic?
Both sides involved in the intricate negotiations arranging the UK’s withdrawal – or “Brexit” – from the EU have welcomed a “new dynamic” in the negotiations.
However, deep divisions remain on trade and on the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should have after the UK leaves.
Both sides spoke in Brussels at the end of the fourth round of Brexit talks in three months.
What did they say?
EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier says it will take “weeks or months” before Brexit talks can move on to trade.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week “made it possible to unblock the situation,” Barnier said at a press conference in Brussels after the latest round of talks.
Barnier said “useful” talks had been held over the financial settlement but clarity is still lacking.
“David and I worked well together. Clarity on some points, but more work needed on others”
MichelBarnier</a> "We will keep working"</p>— Catherine Hardy (fernojay) 28 septembre 2017
“Its true there are differences of opinion but I am confident we can resolve these. We must never forget the bigger picture.” says Davis— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) 28 septembre 2017
Will publish updated table on citizens rights later today, says Davis. We have made progress.— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) 28 septembre 2017
“Guaranteed rights of return in return for onward movement rights. Major question of enforcing rights after we leave EU remains”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) 28 septembre 2017
“Citizens rights a priority. UK has agreed withdrawal agreement – very important. Reassures citizens can invoke rights before UK courts”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) 28 septembre 2017
The ECJ – a “stumbling block”
“UK will incorporate final withdrawal agreement into UK law. Ensure consistent interpretation of EU law.”— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) 28 septembre 2017
Commentators are speaking of a new sense of momentum in the talks, a more positive feeling and a genuine sense of change.
Both David Davis and Michel Barnier mentioned UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week.
Analysts say the speech, which included a concrete offer of money,seems to have broken the deadlock talks had reached.
#Brexit :“A crucial round of talks, this week we have made proposals outlined in Theresa May’s speech in Florence” – Davis— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) 28 septembre 2017
When is the next round due?
One more round is due in early October before leaders meet at an EU summit.
At that stage, they will decide whether talks can move on to trade and the terms of the future transition deal.
Next week, the European Parliament will call for leaders not to move talks on to trade at the summit, unless a major breakthrough is made next month.