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MNI: No Brexit Talks On Fin Settlement, So No Moves This Week

MNI (London)
By Tara Oakes
     BRUSSELS (MNI) - With no negotiations scheduled for the financial
settlement during this week's Brexit talks, there is "no chance" of hitting the
sufficient progress mark this week for future relationship negotiations to
begin, Market News understands.
     Sources on the UK side said that the agenda could always be modified even
at this late stage. But as it stands, there is not even the forum possible for
sufficient progress to be reached.
     Instead, the so-called divorce bill will be discussed at a lower, technical
working group level.
     "Sufficient progress" is the longed-for EU seal of approval needed for
talks on trade, customs and future partnership to begin. Britain are keen to
jump the gun and get second-phase negotiations up and running - and will publish
white papers this afternoon covering trade and customs.
     EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier would recommend the sufficient progress
label before it is approved by leaders at the European Council -- who have a
summit coming up in Brussels next week.
     But if things remain as they stand regarding the agenda and the general
gloom surrounding talks, negotiators are not there yet.
     Sufficient progress is needed on the financial settlement as well as
citizens' rights and issues relating to the island of Ireland.
     One EU source said that agreement on key citizens' rights issues was also
yet to be found. The role of the ECJ, exporting social security benefits,
registration and settled status are all still questions on the table. EU and UK
teams are working together on mapping the issues on the island of Ireland, he
     UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to say Monday that the ball is in
the EU's court to move on to the second stage.
     But although EC Chief Spokesman Margaritas Schinas told journalists that
talks were "not exactly a ball game", he added that the ball, if it exists, is
"entirely" in the UK's talks for round II to begin - by them fulfilling the
mandate agreed and allowing sufficient progress to be declared.
--MNI Brussels Bureau; +44 203-865-3851; email:
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email:
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MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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