SUE WILSON, Chair of Bremain in Spain (www.bremaininspain.com) an organisation campaigning for the rights of British citizens in Spain, has given her opinions on the latest round of Brexit talks.
Wilson believes that many people may have failed to notice the fifth round of Brexit negotiations, which took place in Brussels this week. The negotiations received very little media coverage during a lively news week.
On Monday, the House of Commons debated the ‘UK plans for leaving the EU’, including two new government position papers. Theresa May’s radio interview on Tuesday, in which she suggested that EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU could be left in the lurch by a no deal, caused a bigger stir in the UK media than the Brexit talks.
Wilson said: “May admitted that she doesn’t have a plan on citizens’ rights if we crash out without a deal. Repeating ‘we want you to stay’ to EU citizens isn’t reassuring, especially when she keeps raising a no deal scenario. We heard much talk this week about planning for a no deal Brexit. With the poor quality of Brexit planning we’ve seen to date, we’re not expecting any contingency plans to amount to more than Tory rhetoric.”
Wilson believes the media cannot be criticised for its lack of interest in the negotiations, when the UK negotiating team seemingly showed a similar lack of enthusiasm. On Monday, David Davis didn’t turn up for the day one photoshoot. Tuesday saw an announcement that the UK negotiating team wouldn’t be attending talks on Wednesday.
She said: “Having pushed the EU to step up the talks, the EU must wonder what on earth the UK is playing at now.”
At the press conference on Thursday, it was clear that only limited progress had been made. Barnier said: “We clarified certain points without making great steps forward”. Barnier also stated that he cannot ask next week’s EU summit to open talks on future relations.
Wilson continued: “So many citizens’ rights issues remain unresolved and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice remains a major stumbling block. It’s difficult to see how or when progress on outstanding issues might be made, or when 4.5 million affected citizens might receive some measure of relief from all this uncertainty.
“We’ve heard many references to game-playing this week – first from Theresa May, then the EU saying the ball is in the UK’s court. We agree with Michel Barnier – Brexit is not a game. With citizens’ rights remaining unsettled, people’s lives are at stake and the government needs to start acting like grown-ups. Enough is enough.”