Juncker says 'Brexit position papers are not 'satisfactory'

Posted August 31, 2017

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday (Aug 29) said Turkey was fully to blame for the breakdown of its EU accession talks and warned Ankara was fast withdrawing from Europe, Channel News Asia reports in its article EU's Juncker says Turkey leaving Europe by "giant steps".

The belief within May's government is that it is impossible to make "sufficient progress" on preliminary issues like the divorce bill without at the same time addressing what the future UK-EU relationship will look like.

This would be an act of defiance against the EU's most senior figures who say trade talks can not begin until the Brexit divorce bill is settled.

A plea for the European Union to show flexibility and hurry talks along was immediately snubbed by Mr Barnier, who accused the United Kingdom of a lack of clarity.

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"There are an enormous amount of issues which remain to be settled".

Officials from Brussels and the United Kingdom were continuing negotiations in the latest round of the withdrawal process, but Juncker's comments are further evidence of the European Union's frustration with the approach being taken by the Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Brexit Secretary David Davis (left) and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

"Problems regarding Ireland and Northern Ireland, which are very serious problems, in respect of which we've had no definitive response", Mr Juncker said.

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The British government is reportedly frustrated that the EU will not discuss the terms of the future EU-UK relationship until issues such as the "divorce bill" and the rights of EU citizens are settled.

The UK team say that the negotiations timetable is not flexible, while the excessive pressure from the European Union prevents a constructive discussion.

A senior British MEP on Wednesday said Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's point-man on Brexit, had gone "way beyond his pay grade" by suggesting that talks on the U.K.'s exit would not be able to move to the next level in October.

A spokesman for Theresa May has said the Prime Minister wants to put the criticism from Jean-Claude Juncker behind her and continue with the Brexit talks. He added, "they have made it quite clear that we can not honor the decision of the referendum if we remain in the customs union and the single market".

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