European Union and Britain talks warmer after May’s speech, but no closure

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 on progress in this week's latest round of negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, Belgium September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Vastavam web: The European Union and Britain made progress in the latest round of divorce talks, but not enough to move to the next phase of discussions on a transition period after Brexit or a future trade deal, top negotiators said on Thursday.“We have had a constructive week, yes, but we are not yet there in terms of achieving sufficient progress. Further work is needed in the coming weeks and months,” chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier told reporters, praising a “new dynamic” created by concessions made last week by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Differences over the role of the European Court of Justice and how much London will owe Brussels remain major obstacles.Officials involved said there had been a better atmosphere this week. One EU official said May had averted the “train crash” which might have resulted from another week of stubborn deadlock. That would have increased risks of Britain simply crashing out of the Union into legal limbo in March 2019.
“We must never forget the bigger picture. Britain wants to be the European Union’s strongest friend and partner,” he said, echoing May. “I leave Brussels optimistic about this future.”Barnier said he would “take stock” of progress with leaders of the other 27 EU states at a Brussels summit in three weeks time, a week after the next negotiating round. But he gave no indication of how likely he is to recommend opening trade talks. And “sufficient progress” has been deliberately left undefined.