Brussels: Ball is in Britain's court over Brexit

"More clarity" is still needed from the UK, says EU chief Michel Barnier

"More clarity" is still needed from the UK, says EU chief Michel Barnier

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Britain must give Brussels a clear Brexit blueprint to allow negotiations to move forward, according to the European Union chief leading the exit talks.

All those involved "know where the EU stands" but "more clarity" is still needed from the UK, Michel Barnier said.

In a speech in Hannover he said it was up to the Government to come up with its vision for the future that either finalised or changed the UK's red lines.

"It is now up to the UK to come up with its vision for the future, which should confirm the UK's red lines or adapt them," he said.

"Once we have more clarity from the UK, we will prepare a political declaration on the framework for the future relationship to accompany the withdrawal agreement in the autumn."

It comes as the Government suffered three more heavy defeats in the House of Lords over its flagship Brexit legislation.

In the main reverse, peers backed a cross-party move to retain key EU human rights provisions on exiting the union.

Earlier, Theresa May was forced to again insist the UK must leave the customs union after Brexit in order to strike trade deals around the world after a massive defeat on the issue in the Lords previously.

Both sides want plans for future relations to be set out by October along with a legally-binding treaty detailing the terms of the UK's withdrawal agreement.

Mr Barnier said the rest of the bloc had made clear it wants a partnership that is as close as possible but Britain's position on quitting the single market and customs union along with other policies meant it is "closing doors".

"The European Council has made clear that, if the UK's red lines were to evolve, the Union would be prepared to reconsider its offer," he said. "We are flexible, never dogmatic. We are open for business.

"But of course any change from the UK must respect our principles, the principles we have built with the UK over 45 years.

"In particular, the four freedoms of the single market go together. They are all indivisible.

"You cannot have free movement of services without free movement of goods, and so forth. And you cannot have free movement of goods without free movement of people."