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Press Statement By Michel Barnier Following 5th Round Of Article 50 Negotiations With The United Kingdom

* We clarified certain points. But without making any great steps forward.

* We still have a common goal: the desire to reach an agreement on the UK's withdrawal and to outline our future relationship.

* We must protect the rights of all citizens concerned regarding the consequences of withdrawal.

* We must preserve the peace process in Northern Ireland and cooperation on the island of Ireland.

* For the EU achieving and realising key objectives is the condition for engaging in a discussion, as soon as possible, on a new ambitious, long-lasting partnership.

Where are we at the end of this fifth round?

* On citizens' rights we have two common objectives:

  1. That the Withdrawal Agreement has direct effect, which is essential to guarantee the rights of all citizens in the long-term.
  2. That the interpretation of these rights is fully consistent in the European Union and in the United Kingdom.

* We continue to work on the specific instruments and mechanisms that will allow us to translate this into reality. This means for us the role of the European Court of Justice.

* Divergences still exist on the possibility of family reunification and on the exportation of social benefits after Brexit, both of which we want.

* For us it is important that any European citizen living in the UK can – in 10 or 15 years' time – bring his/her parents to the UK, as would be the case for British citizens living in the EU.

* A EU citizen who has worked for 20 years in the UK should be able to move to a EU Member State and still benefit from his/her disability allowance, under the same conditions as British citizens in the EU.

* The UK has informed us of its intention to put in place a simplified procedure, which allows citizens to assert their rights. We will study attentively the practical details of this procedure, which should really be simple for citizens.

* On Ireland we advanced on the joint principles on the continuation of the Common Travel Area and continued our intensive work on mapping out areas of cooperation that operate on a North South basis on the island of Ireland.

* There is more work to do in order to build a full picture of the challenges to North-South cooperation resulting from the UK, and therefore Northern Ireland, leaving the EU legal framework.

* We have agreed that the six principles proposed by the EU in September would guide our work on protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions.

* On the financial settlement Theresa May confirmed in her Florence speech that the UK would honour commitments it has made during the period of its membership. This is an important commitment. The UK told us again that it still could not clarify these commitments. We are at a deadlock on this question. This is extremely worrying for European taxpayers and those who benefit from EU policies.

 

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