Brexit talks end with clash over citizens' rights, role of European court

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   July 20, 2017 at 12:12 PM
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July 20 (UPI) -- The European Union's Brexit negotiator called for more clarity as the second round of negotiations with Britain ended Thursday in Brussels.

"The first round was about organization, the second round about presentation, the third round must be about clarification," Michel Barnier said after the talks with David Davis, British Brexit envoy.

The discussions regarding the end of Britain's membership in the EU, as determined by a British referendum in June 2016, are viewed as a stalemate so far. The four-day meeting yielded little of substance, and neither side warmed to compromise, in what is regarded as a messy divorce, Bloomberg News said Thursday. Meanwhile European banks are making preparations to leave London and European companies are investigating contingency plans for a future in which Britain plays a minor role.

Still at issue are the role of the European Court of Justice, a free trade bill between Britain and the EU and citizens' rights, particularly the right of travel and residency. British officials raised the issue of the 3.5 million British citizens living in other EU countries; EU negotiators said they would not permit it without a reciprocal offer for European nationals living in Britain that would allow them to move to another EU country and later return to Britain.

The freedom of movement within the EU has been a sticking point; the referendum to leave the EU that was approved in Britain rested largely on issues that included non-British Europeans coming to work in Britain.

The EU is seeking guaranteed permission for European citizens to resettle in Britain after an indefinite period living in another country.

Davis said he was encouraged by the talks, but noted a division on the matter of use of the European Court of Justice. The EU wants the court to resolve disputes over citizens' rights, while the British insist that British courts should be the venue for a country no longer part of the EU.

The next round of negotiations is scheduled for August.

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