EU rebuffs British gripes on Brexit flexibility

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 30, 2017 12:04 PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's chief negotiator on Britain's exit from the bloc hit back at British complaints about his "inflexible" approach to talks, saying on Monday that London still needed to make clear its positions.

British officials have complained that EU negotiators have been unwilling in talks that resumed this week in Brussels to move from guideline positions fixed in the mandate Michel Barnier was given by the other EU states, leaving substantial gaps between them and proposals put forward by London.

Barnier tweeted: "Guidelines are designed for serious and constructive negotiations but we need clear UK positions on all issues."

British officials reject EU accusations that they have been vague or unprepared for negotiations, pointing to a number of position papers published over the past few weeks.

EU officials say that Barnier's team will be in a position to reach compromises with Britain in due course. The other 27 EU governments are being kept closely informed of progress and can modify the guidelines given to Barnier in order to get a deal.

(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Mark Heinrich)