Juncker calls Brexit talks on citizens' rights 'nonsense'

The breakthrough follows pleas by Brexit Secretary David Davis and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier

Yesterday, Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, said he would not recommend that Brexit talks move on to the second phase because the United Kingdom and the European bloc remain in a "disturbing" state of deadlock.

The EU is refusing to fully engage in those negotiations until it judges that "sufficient progress" has been made in the three issues of the co-called Brexit bill, Ireland and citizens' rights.

"If we allow, but it's not our business, that Catalonia becomes independent, others will do the same and I wouldn't like that", he said. I'm not in a revenge mood. The Europeans have to be grateful for so many things Britain has brought to Europe before war, during war, after war. "Citizens have rights because of being citizens, not because there is a Brexit issue which has to be discussed".

"I don't even understand this problem", Juncker said. Why not say easily, with common sense, that things will stay as they are? Let them here, let them there.

Speaking about the financial settlement at a press conference in Brussels alongside UK Brexit Secertary David Davis on Thursday, Barnier said: "On this question we have reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters in Europe and it's disturbing also for taxpayers". Now we have to deal with the results and first to be impressed by the numerous disadvantages that Brexit - Brexit meaning Brexit - is entailing for the British.

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But the draft paper offered signs of hope that Mr Barnier and European Union states could at least begin exploring trade and transition arrangements, with the aim of moving on to those issues if agreement can be reached at December's Council summit.

"Theresa May must start listening to the legitimate concerns of Labour and some of her own MPs by urgently changing approach".

But Chris Philp told BBC Newsnight: "That's nonsense".

In a debate at a university in his native Luxembourg, Juncker was brutally honest in his assessment of the Brexit talks.

Juncker reiterated the European Union position that Britain would need to pay in full the cost of the financial commitments it had made as a member of the European Union, including contingent liabilities such as pensions and covering long-term loans. "The details are for negotiations".

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