EU's Barnier says no 'decisive progress' in Brexit talks
AFP: The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday that the European Union and Britain had made no substantial breakthroughs in the third round of Brexit talks.
"This week provided useful clarifications... but we did not get any decisive progress on the central subjects," Barnier told a joint press conference with his British counterpart David Davis in Brussels.
Barnier however added that highly sensitive discussions on the fate of Northen Ireland's border with EU-member Irish Republic were "fruitful" with "substantial progress" achieved.
Davis depicted the talks in a more positive light, although he called on the European side to show more flexibility.
"We have seen some concrete progress... but there remains some way to go," said Davis.
The latest round of talks began Monday with Barnier and Davis exchanging barbs over how the negotiations should proceed.
The European Union has said there must be "sufficient progress" in three key areas -- EU citizen rights, Northern Ireland's border and the exit bill -- before it will consider post-Brexit arrangements, possibly from October.
Britain is on a countdown to leave the EU by the end of March 2019, following last year's shock referendum vote.
To avert a messy exit, British and EU officials have agreed to meet each month for four days in Brussels leading up to an October review which will decide the next step.