Britain in 'good position' in Brexit talks: PM May's spokeswoman

Elias Hubbard
August 29, 2017

Twitter has come down hard on Jean-Claude Juncker after his comments on the UK's position for Brexit.

He stated this in Brussels on Tuesday at an annual conference of ambassadors representing 140 European Union delegations in the world, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. I suspect that [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, who I have always had friendly relations with and with whom I maintain a good relationship with, expects Europe to make statements about the termination of negotiations [about Turkey's membership in the bloc] in order to show that the European Union is responsible for this, but not Turkey.

Asked about Juncker's remarks on Tuesday, the prime minister's deputy official spokeswoman said: "Our desire is to discuss both at the same time: we've repeatedly said that, and that's what we're working towards".

At the same time, he said that relations with Russian Federation could develop "without renouncing our values and principles [such as] the annexation of Crimea and the rest".

The EU wants Britain to agree to the terms of its departure first, in particular on citizens' rights, a financial settlement on what Britain owes the bloc, and the Irish border issue.

Speaking in a conference for EU ambassadors, the president of the European Commission said the papers produced to outline the UK Government's position were not "satisfactory".

His comments follow criticism of the UK's "ambiguity" in negotiations by European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday afternoon. Not just on the border problems regarding Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is a very serious problem in respect of which we've had no definitive response, but we also have the status of European citizens living in the United Kingdom and UK citizens living on the continent.

Mr Davis and Mr Barnier met on Monday at the start of the latest round of talks which highlighted differences between Brussels and Whitehall over the negotiating papers produced by the UK.

Mr Barnier said: 'We need United Kingdom papers that are clear in order to have constructive negotiations.

"We need United Kingdom positions on all separation issues".

The government is hoping the next round of talks, in September, will achieve sufficient progress to convince EU27 leaders to signal at the European council in October that talks can move on. "We'll see where we get to on Thursday, but we believe we're in a good position, and would like to move on to discuss our future relationship".

Defending the UK's position papers, the minister said they were the product of "hard work and detailed thinking that has been going on behind the scenes" for the a year ago.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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