Q: What are the chances of making sufficient progress to move on to the next stage of the talks by the October European council? And if that deadline is missed, will it have to wait until the December council?
Barnier says the quality of the agreement matters more than that amount of time taken. Davis says he agrees.
And that’s it.
I will post a summary and reaction shortly.
Davis says UK will take into account its moral obligations as well as its legal obligations in its Brexit offer to EU
Q: [To Davis] Do you admit that not publishing any financial proposals is not helpful? And what do you think of Tony Blair being in Brussels today to meet Jean-Claude Juncker?
Davis says he will not comment on the Blair/Juncker meeting.
He says the government has been trying to establish if the legal obligations laid down by the EU are properly codified.
He says the UK will meet its obligations. But those obligations have to be real, he says.
He also says they do not necessarily have to be legal. The government recognises moral obligations too, he says.
- Davis says UK will take into account its moral obligations as well as its legal obligations in its Brexit offer to EU.
Q: [To Barnier] Are you seeing any sign from the UK they are being flexible?
Barnier says the UK has decided to leave the EU. The government has said it will leave the single market and the customs unions. He says he is following the guidelines he has been set.
Some of the issues may have not been debated in sufficient depth in the UK, he says.
He says he hopes there will be a debate in the UK about what being in the single market means. He will be happy to take part.
Reading some of the British papers, he says “a sort of nostalgia”. There are requests to enjoy the benefit of the single market without being part of it, he says.
He says he must respect the integrity of the single market.
It is not we who are leaving. It is the UK that is leaving the EU.
Q: [To Davis] Are you seeing any signs the EU is being flexible?
Davis says he would not mistake belief in the free market for nostalgia.
He says the phrase he has used, “flexible and imaginative solutions”, is a quote from the European council. He thinks they are right.
Davis and Barnier’s Q&A
James Mates from ITV goes first.
Q: [To Davis] Are you providing clarity or constructive ambiguity?
Davis says “constructive ambiguity” (a phrase he applied in a Today interview, describing what happens in negotiations sometimes) was not his phrase but Kissinger’s.
The prime minister has been very clear about what the UK wants, he says.
Q: [To Barnier] Is there any chance of sufficient progress being made by October.
Barnier rejects the suggestion he is angry or frustrated. He thinks he has shown the typical calm of a mountaineer.
If he does get angry, it will be obvious, he says.
He says, to succeed, they both must be as constructive and as unambiguous as possible.
Davis says there is a high degree of convergence on Ireland and on the common travel areas.
There are been almost complete agreement on privilege issues, and on confidentiality.
He says the UK’s approach is more pragmatic than the EU’s on some issues.
The third round of talks has been productive, he says.
Davis says Barnier spoke about the timetable.
Davis says he always said there would be turbulence.
But both sides are trying to be constructive.
Let’s continue to work together constructively, he says.
He says his team will publish further papers in the coming weeks.
On the financial settlement, Davis says the UK has a duty to taxpayers to interrogate the EU’s position.
This week it has done that.
The UK has a different legal stance, he says.
But he says the UK accepts that there must be a settlement in accordance with the law, and in the interests of the future relationship.
There are still significant differences to be bridged, he says.
David Davis is speaking now.
He starts by thanking the delegations for their work.
This week there have been long and detailed discussion over many areas.
There has been “concrete progress” in a number of areas, he says.
But there is still some way to go, he says.
He says he wanted to establish this week where they agree and disgree.
The UK’s approach has been informed by a series of detailed papers, he says. They represent the outcome of hard work. They offer pragmatic solutions. They propose options, not a single approach.
Issues relating to withdrawal and the future relations are “inextricably linked”, he says.
At the heart of this process must be a desire to deliver the best outcome, he says.
Citizens’ rights remain a key issue.
Both sides have agreed to protect the rights of frontier workers.
British pensioners in the EU will continue to be able to use a health card, where they live and if they travel in the EU.
The UK will soon publish a comparison on the UK and EU positions, he says.
Barnier turns to financial obligations.
He says this week it has become clear that the UK does not accept that it needs to recognise its financial obligations after Brexit.
How can we establish trust on that basis, he asks.
He reverts back to French.
He says he always said this would be complex.
Over the last three days he has seen a lot of commitment on both sides, he says.
He says he is prepared to intensify negotiations.
Barnier criticises the UK for the letters that have gone out to some EU nationals saying they must leave the UK.
Barnier says UK demands relating to access to single market are ‘impossible’
Barnier says he is “quite far” from being able to say to EU leaders in October that enough progress has been made to move the talks on at that point to cover the future trade relationship.
- Barnier says he is “quite far” from being able to advise EU leaders to open phase two of Brexit talks in October.
He says he wants to stress three points.
He says he has a mandate, saying he must focus on three issues first: the rights of EU nationals, Ireland and financial obligations.
The European parliament also agrees, he says. He says the UK should not underestimate the importance of the parliament.
Barnier has now switched to speaking in English, from French.
He says protecting the integrity of the single market is central to his mandate.
The single market “must not and will not be undermined Brexit”, he says.
- Barnier says the single market “must not and will not be undermined Brexit”.
He says he UK wants to take back control.
But it also wants to have UK standards automatically recognised by the EU.
This is simply impossible.
- Barnier says UK demands relating to access to the single market are “impossible”.
Barnier says there has been no “decisive progress” on the key issues in Brexit talks
Michel Barnier opens the press conference.
The third round of talks has concluded, he says.
He says on Monday he said he was concerned. Time is passing quickly, he says. On 29 March 2019, at the stroke of midnight, the UK will leave the EU.
Will we have organised a properly, orderly exit for the UK? Or will it be leaving without an agreement, with all the consequences already explained.
He says it is in the interests of Europe for the UK to leave with agreement.
This week there have been a number of useful clarifications. He lists a few.
However “we did not get any decisive progress on any of the principal subjects”.
- Barnier says there has been no “decisive progress” on the key issues in Brexit talks.
David Davis and Michel Barnier hold press conference after Brexit talks
David Davis, the Brexit secretary, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, are about to hold a press conference after this week’s talks.
As my colleague Jennifer Rankin reports, the talks have not been going smoothly.
Here is some more media comment on the May/Abe press conference.
From the Telegraph’s Gordon Rayner
From the Sun’s Harry Cole
May/Abe press conference – Summary
That was a press conference that was rather light on the news front, but two points did emerge.
- May brushed aside complaints from Tories about her declaration that she wants to fight the next election but saying that the public want her to “get on with the job”. She did not resile from what she said yesterday, and she repeated the line about not being a quitter. But, equally, she used less provocative language than she did yesterday. She did not talk about fighting the next election, and she acknowledged that what mattered was delivery (a point Grant Shapps made this morning – see 10.03am) – not (by implication) speculating about the next election. If she had answered the election leadership question with this line yesterday, there would have been no story. At the press conference, when asked how she responded to Tory MPs who were not happy about her comments about wanting to fight the next election as party leader, she replied:
I said I wasn’t a quitter and there is a long-term job to do. There is an important job to be done in the United Kingdom, we stand at a really critical time in the UK … [Long-term issues like mental health] are real issues that we need to be dealing with and I’m there to do it. For most members of the public, they would say they want the government to get on with the job and that’s exactly what I and the government are doing.
- Abe said he was encouraged by the assurances given by May about delivering a smooth Brexit. Abe acknowledged that Brexit was a concern to Japanese investors. But his warm comments about the assurances he has received will be welcomed by Number 10, and cited as evidence that May is handling Brexit in a business-friendly way.
I will beef up this post with quotes from the press conference shortly.
Carl Dinnen from ITV goes next.
Q: You say that China needs to put more pressure on North Korea. But the Chinese media says you are in a weak position?
May says the world should be putting pressure on China to rein in North Korea.
Q: Some Tory MPs think you will have to quit as leader. What is your response?
May says she said she was not a quitter. There is an important job to be done, she says. Brexit is important, but there are other issues to address as well. She set them out when she became prime minister. For example, mental health. These are real issues. Most members of the public just want the government to “get on with the job”.
Q: [To Abe] Have you heard enough from May to be sure Japanese companies won’t leave the UK after Brexit?
Abe says the UK is the gateway to Europe for Japanese companies. He put this to May. She responded in a forceful way. That was encouraging, he says.
He says May’s position has been appreciated by Japanese companies. Some have made new investments in the UK.
He says he is confident the UK will respond favourably to Japanese concerns.
And that’s it. The press conference is over.
I will post a summary very shortly.