Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator of the European Union, has revealed that “little” progress has been made on resolving the concerns that threaten to achieve a deal since the European summit last March.
Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, declared that there was a “new dynamic” in the talks after the meeting in which the leaders of the European Union agreed to move forward to the next stage of discussions.
However, seven weeks on, Barnier said that the same issues continue to be outstanding. He also informed his counterparts in the United Kingdom: “The clock is ticking.”
When asked whether it was true that “very little” progress had been made since March summit, Barnier answered: “Little, not very little.”
Barnier added that how a Brexit deal should be governed and how to avoid a hard border in Ireland remain to be the issues where there is a “risk of failure.”
He had earlier updated ministers from the 28 member states of the European Union regarding the Brexit discussions at a meeting in Brussels.
The Bulgarian minister who chaired the meeting, Ekaterina Zaharieva, stated: “The council was informed that not much progress has been made since the European Council in March.
“We look forward to a more intensive engagement by the UK government in the coming weeks.”
The Bulgarian minister said that “substantial progress” must be made on the issue of the Irish border this coming June, saying that the solutions that are suggested by the UK government would “mean a hard border” so far.
The negotiators of the UK government and Barnier will meet twice in Brussels prior to the next European Council summit that is scheduled on the 28th and 29th of June in an attempt to look for an agreement on the outstanding issues.
Once a deal can be done, Barnier said that the military and security services of the United Kingdom would be able to access to encrypted part of the Galileo satellite system of the European Union – a key demand of the government of the UK.
Barnier made the said announcement while talking alongside the high representative for foreign affairs of the EU, Federica Mogherini, regarding the future EU-UK cooperation on security.
Mogherini said that Brexit would be a “loss” to the United Kingdom because it is us “giving up the power to use our common foreign and security policy and all its instruments.”
However, she stated: “Our world is in a state of chaos. In a midst of such confusion, the EU and the UK need one and other.
“The choice of leaving the European Union does not change geography – Britain is part of Europe and this will not change. We will still share the same region. Our cooperation should be and will as close and as positive as possible.”
Mogherini said that the EU and the UK would need to set up a formal consultation mechanism regarding foreign policy and said that the UK could contribute to the military and civilian missions of the EU.