EU court should be guarantor of expats' rights after Brexit: Chief negotiator Michel Barnier

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier responds to British Foreign Secretary's quip on Tuesday by saying he can hear the clock "ticking" on Brexit.
Michel Barnier, the European Chief Negotiator of the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50, gives a press conference on the status of the negotiations, in Brussels, Belgium on July 12,
Michel Barnier, the European Chief Negotiator of the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50, gives a press conference on the status of the negotiations, in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said there were many differences with Britain on citizens' rights, including on the role of the EU court that needed to be sorted out before talks can start on a trade deal.

"We want EU citizens in Britain to have the same rights as British citizens who live in the EU," Barnier told a news conference in Brussels, noting that the British position at the moment does not guarantee these equal rights.

Barnier said that the European Court of Justice should be the "ultimate guarantor" of these rights, and if Britain opposed this "it would create uncertainty."

Britain wants to regulate citizens' rights under British law.

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He said there should be progress on all three priority Brexit issues before talks can begin on trade issues.

"These three priority subjects for the first phase of negotiations are inseparable. In other words, progress on one or two of these topics will not be sufficient to move on to discussions about our future relationship with the United Kingdom."