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Third round Brexit-talk concluded without decisive progress

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-09-01 09:16

Third round Brexit-talk concluded without decisive progress

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier hold a joint news conference marking the end of the third formal negotiation session in Brussels, Belgium August 31, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

BRUSSELS - Amid a blaming game between the European Union (EU) and Britain, the third round of Brexit talks concluded Thursday without decisive progress, as expected.

"Time is passing quickly and with each day that goes by, we are getting closer to the United Kingdom's withdrawal, on 29 March 2019 at midnight. The fundamental question for which we need an answer is whether on this day, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union in an orderly manner, with an agreement," European Union (EU) chief negotiator Michel Barnier told a joint news conference with Britain's Brexit Secretary David Davis.

"Over the course of this week we have made a number of useful clarification on a number of points, for instance the status of border workers. However, we did not get any decisive progress on any of the principle subjects," said Barnier.

"We made real progress on the question of the Common Travel Area, on the basis of guarantees by the United Kingdom, and we clarified, in a constructive manner, what remains to be done, particularly with regards to North-South cooperation in the Good Friday Agreement," said Barnier, reaffirming that time is passing quickly for the two sides to reach a global agreement.

"At the current speed, we are far from being able to recommend to the European Council that there has been sufficient progress in order to start discussions on the future relationship, while we are finalising the withdrawal agreement throughout 2018," he added.

Unlike Barnier's pessimism, Davis believed that the two sides have had long and detailed discussions across multiple areas this week and "I think it is fair to say, that we have seen some concrete progress" especially on citizens' rights.

Both sides have agreed to protect the rights of frontier workers, to cover future social security contributions for those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and protect existing healthcare rights and arrangements for EU27 citizens in Britain and British nationals in the EU, among others, said Davis.

"And we have had further discussions on the governance of the citizens' rights agreement -- and the wider withdrawal agreement. We have shown a willingness to discuss creative solutions in this area and now is the time for the Commission to match it," he added.

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