The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, considers that it is “particularly urgent” to reach agreement on British and European citizens’ rights post-Brexit. She indicated this upon arrival at the Autumn Summit of the EU heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday.
She added, “We are going to consider the concrete progress which has been made in negotiations for our withdrawal, and undertake ambitious plans within the next few weeks.” Part of the European Council meeting will be devoted on Friday to analysing the outcome during the first five rounds of negotiations devoted to the divorce between the British government and the European Union.
The leaders of the 27 have made it an essential condition, to start discussions upon the EU’s future relationship with the United Kingdom, that significant progress occurs in three spheres; protecting citizens’ rights, the issue of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and the divorce bill.
For now, progress has mainly been made around citizens’ rights – and an agreement may be “within reach” according to Mrs May – whilst the financial issue divides both camps.
In any case, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, insisted on Thursday upon arrival in Brussels that “Sufficient progress has not been made to start [this second phase of] negotiations.”
The French President, Emmanuel Macron, considered that the 27 are were planning to show “very strong” unity towards the British government, “since we are all united in these views, interests and ambitions with a single negotiator, Michel Barnier, acting on our behalf.”