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Vitsut doubts Brexit negotiations will make much headway this year

Chairman of the Riigikogu's EU Affairs Committee Toomas Vitsut (Centre).
Chairman of the Riigikogu's EU Affairs Committee Toomas Vitsut (Centre). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Chairman of the Riigikogu’s European Union Affairs Committee, Toomas Vitsut (Center), doubts that Brexit negotiations will reach a point this year where the second stage, namely discussing a framework for future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom, becomes a possibility.

In principle it had been agreed that negotiations would be carried out first, and a round of questions concerning the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union would then follow.

“And here the deadlines are indeed relatively tight—the hope is to reach an agreement before the end of this year. But it seems that this is slightly too optimistic,” Vitsut told BNS on Friday.

The government’s deputy minister for EU affairs, Matti Maasikas, met with the European Union Affairs Committee on Friday, when he gave an overview of the negotiations between the EU and the UK. The EU has announced that there won’t be any negotiations concerning future relations before “sufficient success” has been achieved first regarding the withdrawal.

Officials involved in the negotiations earlier expressed hope that this point might be reached already by October this year.

Vitsut pointed out that if there were any disputed issues at all, this deadline likely wouldn’t be met. “And at the moment there are quite a few topics where there’s no common ground,” Vitsut said.

He added that the matter of financial compensation to be paid by the UK was perhaps the most serious obstacle.

At the same time, the working speed was high. “We’ll see whether they are able to discuss these questions and achieve a result in that time or not,” Vitsut said.

The priority of the European Union is to come to an agreement regarding the rights of UK citizens living in the EU, and EU citizens living in Britain, a withdrawal bill that the United Kingdom has to pay, and a border regime for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Negotiators of both sides met for the first round of negotiations this week after they agreed on procedural questions in meetings in June. Another three rounds of negotiations, possibly to be extended to four, are planned until October.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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