Edition 1471
21 April 2018
Edition: 1471

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France, Portugal agree Brexit talks must be ‘firm but open’

by TPN/Lusa, in News · 11-05-2017 14:55:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said that his country and France both want “a negotiation with firmness, but with a spirit of openness” with the UK on the terms of its exit from the European Union and its future relationship with the bloc.

In comments made to Lusa News Agency in Paris after a meeting with his counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, at France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Santos Silva said that “the main point was the near future of Europe” in their talks.
“Where ‘Brexit’ is concerned, both Portugal and France took the view that there is evidently a need to conduct the negotiation with firmness, but with a spirit of openness, so that it is possible to resolve as soon as possible the question of the rights of European citizens in Great Britain and of Britons in Europe, and the question of the financial commitments of Great Britain,” Santos Silva said, after the meeting.
Asked about the ‘bill’ that the UK should pay the EU on leaving, which, according to media reports EU officials have indicated could be up to €100 billion, Santos Silva said this was “journalistic speculation”. It is, he stressed, necessary to agree on the formula for calculating the bill and then implement it.
“From our point of view, things are clear,” he went on. “The United Kingdom - like Portugal, like Germany, like Ireland, like the Czech Republic – made commitments in the framework of the current financial outlook. Some imply payments until 2019, others imply payments after 2019.
“The United Kingdom should take on these commitments.”
By contrast, he said, “What the British are saying is that, from their point of view, the commitments they must keep are those payments that are made until 2019,” but this is not “the most correct” way to do things. Let’s agree on this first, politically, and then the technicians will do the sums,” he said. “It’s not hard to do them. Until then it’s speculation.”
The two ministers also talked about “European integration” and the “need for Europe to take on a leading role in the international agenda because there are questions such as the climate agenda, the sustainable development objectives that today depend greatly on Europe’s leadership.”
Santos Silva also visited an exhibition at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Portugal which is being organised as part of the country’s bid to be elected in November to a four-year term on the organisation’s executive council.


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Edition 1471
21 April 2018
Edition: 1471

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.



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