May's speech step forward - Barnier (2)

Spirit must be translated into precise position - EU negotiator

(ANSA) - Rome, September 21 - European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech in Florence on Brexit as a step forward. "May has expressed a constructive spirit which is also the spirit of the European Union during this unique negotiation," Barnier said in a statement. "The speech shows a willingness to move forward, as time is of the essence. "We need to reach an agreement by autumn 2018 on the conditions of the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the European Union. The UK will become a third country on 30 March 2019.
    "Our priority is to protect the rights of citizens. EU27 citizens in the United Kingdom must have the same rights as British citizens today in the European Union. "These rights must be implemented effectively and safeguarded in the same way in the United Kingdom as in the European Union, as recalled by the European Council and European Parliament.
    "Prime Minister May's statements are a step forward but they must now be translated into a precise negotiating position of the UK government".