Q - Citing French diplomatic sources, the Daily Telegraph reports that France indicated it wants Brexit trade negotiations to begin in October. Do you have any comment on that?
A - Discussions on future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom will only be possible if sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the negotiations.
Along with Michel Barnier, we hope the upcoming negotiating sessions, beginning with the one starting today, fully clarify the British position. It is up to the United Kingdom to move forward on the delicate points (citizens’ rights, borders, financial settlements). Only when sufficient progress has been made on these priority issues will it be possible to begin the second phase of negotiations.
Our 27 countries agreed on simple principles to safeguard European interests and unity, including holding distinct phases of negotiations. We have a single negotiator who reports on technical points weekly to the Council and very regularly to the ministers and heads of state and government.