‘Draft principles’ on Common Travel Area between Ireland and EU created

‘Draft principles’ on Common Travel Area between Ireland and EU created

Britain’s Brexit secretary David Davis and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier have said their latest round of talks have made progress, but significant differences remain between the two sides.

Mr Davis said UK and EU negotiators had “drafted principles” on Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK.

Following Theresa May’s Florence speech proposing a two-year transition in which Britain will continue to pay into EU coffers after Brexit, Mr Davis said the talks in Brussels had made “decisive steps” forward.

However, both men acknowledged there were gaps between them — including on future citizens’ rights which the EU is insisting must be enforced through the European Court of Justice.

Speaking after today’s briefing, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the tone of the discussions appeared to have changed, but that there were many outstanding issues.

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“I certainly think the prime minister’s speech last week has changed the tone of the negotiations – the feedback we’re getting from the negotiations this week is that was very businesslike and that real progress is being made in some areas,” he told Sky News.

“If you take for example the Common Travel Area, there seems to be significant progress on that issue. But there are other Irish issues where we feel there isn’t sufficient progress to allow us to move on to future relationships on trade and transition arrangements and so on…

“On the Irish Border issues, while the British government has been saying many things that are very positive in terms of what they want to achieve, what they haven’t done is be very convincing in terms of how they’re going to achieve them.”

During the briefing Mr Barnier said the prime minister’s speech had created a “good dynamic” for the talks.

He said: “We managed to create clarity on some points. On others, however, more work remains to be done and we are not there yet.”

Mr Davis said: “We have made important progress and capitalised on the momentum created by the prime minister’s speech.

“We are working quickly through a number of complex issues but there remain some points where further discussion and pragmatism will be required to reach an agreement.”

– with PA