By Ilker Girit
The U.K. government has two weeks to make concessions in its Brexit negotiations if it wants to pass on to trade talks this year, according to the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Friday.
Speaking at a press briefing in Brussels after the sixth round of Brexit talks, Michel Barnier said the U.K.'s clarification on financial commitments "is absolutely vital if we are to achieve sufficient progress in December”.
"Only sufficient progress -- that is to say sincere and real progress -- on the three main key issues of these negotiations will enable the triggering of the second phase of our negotiation," Barnier said, according to a web broadcast of the briefing.
He said there were still a number of points that need more work, including family reunification, security benefits and the role of the European Court of Justice in guaranteeing consistent application of case law.
Apart from the citizens' rights and the financial commitment, the border issue of Northern Ireland is also one of the hot topics in the talks as the EU wants to ensure its single market.
"We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and customs union.
“But that cannot come at a cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom," David Davis, the Brexit secretary who also spoke at the press briefing, said.
EU leaders will decide at a summit in Brussels in December whether sufficient progress has been made in the current phase of the negotiations to move on to next stage.
British voters opted to leave the EU in a referendum over a year ago and Brexit negotiations are supposed to be finalized in March 2019.