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EU's Barnier says United Kingdom must be clearer on Brexit as talks continue

30 August 2017

"To be honest I am concerned".

Time passes quickly."Mr. Barnier then also stressed that "the sooner we remove the ambiguity, the sooner we'll be able to discuss the future relationship and a transitional period", while repeating EU's stance that talks won't advance unless divorce issues are "addressed properly". The third formal session since the process began in June, it is due to wind up on Thursday.

Mr Barnier insists they can not propel onto future relationship matters like UK-EU trade deals until citable success is achieved on "separation" issues including calculating what the EU claims Britain should pay for the "divorce".

The talks take place amid continued turmoil in Britain, with the opposition Labour Party over the weekend backing a "soft" Brexit whereby the country remains in the EU's customs union and single market for a transition period.

The EU has said that talks can not move on to discuss broader issues until it is satisfied enough progress has been made on three key points; citizens' rights, the Irish border and the "divorce bill".

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Davis said both sides should exhibit "flexibility and imagination".

It is likely the United Kingdom will again press the case for negotiations on the future relationship to take place alongside separation discussions, stressing that it is impossible to define what the border will look like until both sides have determined what their future trade relationship will be.

He believes a series of papers produced by his Department for Exiting the European Union, shows that it is impossible to look at the UK's debts, the border in Northern Ireland and the rights of European Union citizens without also talking about trade.

The spokeswoman said: "There are lots of issues there where we believe you can't separate withdrawal from future relationship, and that's what we're seeking to agree by October council - that we can move on to talk about our future relationship".

As Barnier said he was "ready to intensify negotiations", Davis replied that the Brits were "ready to roll up [their] sleeves".

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Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, is understood to be infuriated at Britain's refusal even to spell out how it thinks its liabilities to the European Union should be calculated, let alone put a figure on the final bill.

The EU and Britain seem far apart on agreeing how much London should pay the bloc on departure to account for previous commitments.

Senior EU officials have said this is not just an economic issue - it is also a societal and therefore a political issue. Discussions on Northern Ireland will be held on Wednesday.

The move was welcomed by trade unions and opponents of a hard Brexit, but sparked fury among Labour supporters of EU withdrawal, who warned it could cost the party votes in the Midlands and North.

The EU's chief negotiator insisted Britain's position on key divorce issues remained unclear, hence, his concern about slow progress.

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EU's Barnier says United Kingdom must be clearer on Brexit as talks continue