By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) - There has not been enough progress to move on in Brexit negotiations, the EU’s chief negotiator said on Thursday.
Michel Barnier told a news conference to mark the end of a fifth round of negotiations between the U.K. and the EU that progress was made in some issues but there was still “deadlock” over the so-called divorce bill.
However, he also said “decisive progress is in our grasp within the next two months”.
U.K. Brexit Secretary and negotiator David Davis said progress was made on the citizens’ rights, one of the key points in negotiations.
“On citizens’ rights, we have made further progress to give British citizens in the EU and EU27 citizens in the U.K. the greatest possible legal certainty about the future,” he said.
“But today I can confirm that we want to reassure those European citizens living in the U.K. that their rights and status will be enshrined in UK law by the Withdrawal Agreement,” Davis added.
Davis said there is more work to do on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland but further progress has been made as they “have agreed to start working on common undertakings to protect the Good Friday agreement”.
The U.K. had insisted Brexit negotiations had reached a point where sufficient progress had been made to take the talks to the second stage where the future relationship arrangements between the U.K. and the EU could be discussed.
However, the EU leaders said upon the completion of the fourth round of negotiations last month, that the progress seen was not enough, but praised a speech by Prime Minister Theresa in Florence, describing it as a step forward.
Whether there has been enough progress will be evaluated at an EU summit later in October.
British voters opted to leave the EU in a referendum over a year ago and Brexit negotiations are expected to be finalized in March 2019.
The issue of citizens' rights is one of the main issues to be dealt with during the negotiations, together with the land borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well as Gibraltar and Spain, plus immigration control and access to the European single market.