Next round of Brexit talks to focus on Irish issues, says UK

The Common Travel Area and north/south and east/west cooperation under the Good Friday Agreement will be looked at in detail in the next round of Brexit negotiations, Brexit Secretary David Davis has said.

The next round is due to take place in the last week of the month.

But "cross border economic cooperation" will not take place until talks move on to the UK's future relationship with the EU, he added, in a letter the House of Lords.

Providing an update on the negotiations to date, Mr Davis said the main focus so far was on citizens' rights but discussions also took place on the financial settlement, Northern Ireland/Ireland, and "various separation issues".

"The negotiation team explored a number of Northern Ireland/Ireland issues, including the operation of both the Belfast ('Good Friday') Agreement and the Common Travel Area and associated rights on the basis of UK expert presentations," Mr Davis said.

"More detailed discussions are planned for the next round of negotiations, including in relation to the Common Travel Area and North-South and East-West cooperation under the Belfast Agreement. Of course the key issues in relation to cross-border economic cooperation and energy will need to form an integral part of discussions on the UK's future relationship with the EU."

However he gave more detail on the divergence between the two sides on the issue of citizens' rights. Mr Davis said the EU had proposed that Britons living in the bloc after Brexit will only have the right to stay in the country where they are resident when Britain leaves.

"Their offer only guarantees residence rights in the member state in which a British national was resident at the point of our exit from the EU. It does not guarantee the holder... any right to onward movement within the EU, for example to work or study in a neighbouring member state," he said.

"We have questioned whether this is consistent with the principle of reciprocity, and also with the Commission's desire to protect rights currently enjoyed under EU law. This will be the subject of further discussion in due course."


Source: Independent

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