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INTERVIEW EU lawmaker on May's Brexit speech: 'There is a lot of work to do' By Alvise Armellini, dpa

Europe
22.09.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
The head of the European Parliament‘s economic affairs committee was in Florence to listen to Theresa May‘s big Brexit speech. He liked what he heard, but wants "deeds to follow words."

Rome (dpa) - Roberto Gualtieri, an Italian socialist who chairs the European Parliament‘s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, was one of the few EU officials who travelled to Florence for British Prime Minister Theresa May‘s Brexit speech.

He tells dpa what he made of it.

dpa: What did you like about the speech?

Gualtieri: "I appreciate what was said on citizens‘ rights, in particular on the role of the European Court of Justice [...] This, however, should be transformed into a more concrete negotiating position, to avoid any ambiguity, because we need to fully guarantee the whole set of rights of citizens, on both sides.

On the financial settlement, the pledge to honour the financial commitment stemming from EU membership is a recognition of a principle that is essential for the negotiations. Of course it needs to be clarified and implemented coherently: on this there is a lot of work to do on the negotiating table.

Also, the call for a transitional time-limited phase which would prolong current UK membership of the single market is positive. This would require existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory and judicial enforcement instruments to apply, as stated in the European Council guidelines."

dpa: What happens now?

Gualtieri: "It‘s essential to work concretely on the main components of the withdrawal agreement in order to reach, as soon as possible, sufficient progress and to start phase two of the negotiations on the transitional period and on the framework of the future relationship."

dpa: What is the overall message from the EU side?

Gualtieri: "We expect deeds to follow words. This was a constructive speech, but there are a series of issues that need to be clarified and there is a need to settle concrete issues at the negotiating table."

dpa: What hard issues need solving?

Gualtieri: "For example, the Irish question: so far we have not had a UK proposal on how to combine the absence of a hard border with the integrity of the single market. And with the Canadian and Norwegian models ruled out, there are many open questions about what the future EU-UK relation will look like. A free trade agreement can take different shapes, but still, being in or out of the single market means different things and the single market cannot be cut into pieces."

dpa: Why do you think May chose Florence as a venue?

Gualtieri: "I understand this was a way to express the will to keep strong ties with Europe."

 

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