BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders will make a statement on Brexit at a summit in Brussels on Friday. Following is the latest draft text submitted by summit chair Donald Tusk for approval by EU ministers on Tuesday. It was seen by Reuters.
1. In the light of the first five rounds of negotiations, taking into account the assessment presented by the Union negotiator and reaffirming its guidelines of 29 April 2017, the European Council:
-- welcomes the progress made regarding citizens’ rights and invites the negotiator to build on the convergence achieved so as to provide the necessary legal certainty and guarantees to all concerned citizens and their family members who shall be able to exercise directly their rights derived from EU law and protected by the withdrawal agreement, including through smooth and simple administrative procedures and the role of the Court of justice of the European Union;
-- acknowledges that, as regards Ireland, there has been some progress on convergence on principles and objectives regarding protection of the Good Friday Agreement and maintenance of the Common Travel Area, and invites the Union negotiator to pursue further refinement of these principles, taking into account the major challenge that the UK’s withdrawal represents, including as regards avoidance of a hard border, and therefore expecting the UK to present and commit to flexible and imaginative solutions called for by the unique situation of Ireland;
-- notes that, while the UK has stated that it will honour its financial obligations taken during its membership, this has not yet been translated into a firm and concrete commitment from the UK to settle all of these obligations.
2. Building on this progress, the European Council calls for work to continue with a view to consolidating the convergence achieved and pursuing negotiations in order to be able to move to the second phase of the negotiations as soon as possible.
3. At its next session in December, the European Council will reassess the state of progress in the negotiations with a view to determining whether sufficient progress has been achieved on each of the three above issues. If so, it will adopt additional guidelines in relation to the framework for the future relationship and on possible transitional arrangements which are in the interest of the Union and comply with the conditions and core principles of the guidelines of 29 April 2017. Against this background, the European Council invites the Council (Art. 50) together with the Union negotiator to start internal preparatory discussions.
Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; @macdonaldrtr