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EU parliament slams slow progress in Brexit talks

EU PARLIAMENT SLAMS SLOW PROGRESS IN BREXIT TALKS

The European Parliament Tuesday adopted its advisory motion on Brexit, with the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urging greater clarity from the U.K. on key issues before talks move on to the second phase.

The non-binding motion was backed by 557 members of European Parliament, while 92 were against it and there were also 29 abstentions.

The U.K. wants to start a second phase of negotiations with EU that would outline Britain's future relation with the bloc, including policies over trade and single market access.

The resolution urged the EU leaders to hold off on expanding the talks at a summit of EU leaders on Oct.19-20 unless there was a "major breakthrough", noting that not enough progress had been made on key separation issues such as: guarantees on citizen's rights, financial settlement and the Irish border.

It also accused the U.K. of having "seriously impeded" talks over money through a lack of "clear proposals".

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Juncker said negotiations had made "good progress" on the issue of citizens' rights but not on priority issues such as the "indispensable" role of the European Court of Justice.

"When it comes to Brexit, we still cannot talk about the future with any real clarity," Juncker said.

"This is because a condition of Article 50 and the mandate given to us by the leaders of the EU27 are very clear: we first need to agree on the terms of the divorce and then we see if we can half-lovingly find each other again."

He also welcomed British Premier Theresa May's recognition that the U.K. had to honor its financial obligations, but added: "The devil will, as always, be in the detail."

"The taxpayers of the EU27 should not pay for the British decision."

The EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said May had given the EU "some openings" in her Florence speech but he called for a reflection of these in "specific proposals" and warned there were "still serious divergences", especially on a financial settlement.

The next round of negotiations will resume next Monday. Any withdrawal agreement at the end of the U.K.-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU in March 2019, ending its 44-year membership of the bloc.

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