BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stressed on Tuesday that negotiations about a future EU-UK trading relationship after Britain leaves the European Union could only start once divorce issues were resolved.
Britain and the European Commission are holding a third round of talks this week, which the European Union has said must focus on the rights of EU and British citizens living abroad, a financial settlement and the Ireland/Northern Ireland border.
“I would like to be clear that I did read with the requisite attention all the papers produced by the British government and none of those is satisfactory, so there are an enormous amount of issues that need to be settled,” Juncker said in a speech to EU ambassadors.
“We need to be crystal clear that we will commence no negotiations on the new economic and trade relationship between the UK and the EU before all these questions are resolved... that is the divorce between the EU and the UK. We cannot mix these issues up,” he continued.
“First of all we settle the past before we look forward to the future.”
Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek