THE first round of Brexit talks could take ‘months’ to conclude, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier admitted after the latest Brussels discussions.
But campaigners for Brits in Spain welcomed a ‘significant step forward’ by the UK government over citizens’ rights during this week’s talks.
Brexit secretary David Davis has put forward a deal over right to return and onward movement for EU and UK citizens.
Davis said: “We have offered the European Union guaranteed rights of return for settled EU citizens in the UK, in return for onward movement rights, right for onward movement, for our UK nationals who currently live within the EU27.”
Bremain In Spain Chair Sue Wilson backed the government’s ‘flexibility’ on freedom of movement, but said ‘there’s still some way to go’.
“It’s good to see the UK finally listening to our demands and showing more willingness to compromise,” said Wilson.
“However, ECJ jurisdiction – a red line for the EU with regards to citizens’ rights – remains a stumbling block.”
The two sides are also yet to agree on Britain’s ‘divorce’ bill, with Barnier admitting the stumbling block could delay the next stage of the negotiations, which are due to start in October.
There was also a ‘big gap’ over the issue of family reunification for UK-based EU citizens.
“We are not yet there in terms of achieving sufficient progress,” said Barnier.
“Further work is needed in the coming weeks and months”.
Wilson added ‘we must keep fighting to prevent this government from driving the UK over the cliff edge’.
Bremain In Spain will take part in a Stop Brexit March in Manchester on October 1.