We are in a decisive moment of our negotiations.
A lot of time has been lost, and now we see a more positive dynamic. At the same time, a number of fundamental issues remain yet to be clarified and problems have to be solved.
For this reason, it is very important that the message that comes from this Parliament is clearly heard and understood.
A positive conclusion of the first phase of the negotiations is possible, but we are not yet there. The Parliament is and will be open and constructive in its assessment, but we are and will be equally firm on our principles.
A full safeguard of citizens’ rights is our first priority. The positive principle of the direct effect of the Agreement must be underpinned by an effective mechanism which allows the CJEU to ensure a consistent interpretation of its provisions.
Second, as we are safeguarding existing rights and not discussing future UK immigration rules, we will not accept to depart from any of the current provisions, in particular about the rights of future family members of eligible citizens, who should have the same rights as the current family members, about the declaratory nature of documents, about the need to avoid burdensome administrative procedures, and on the possibility to export social benefits.
On Ireland, our resolution is extremely clear, and on the financial settlement it is extremely important that the now apparently shared principle that all commitments made by the UK during its membership of the Union shall be honoured, this principle is fully and consistently implemented.
It is therefore clear that, despite some positive step forward, a lot of work is still required in order to move to phase two of the negotiations. As a consequence, as we say in the resolution, unless a major breakthrough takes place next week, the European Council should postpone its assessment on sufficient progress.
By stating this obvious element we are not closing a door. We are pointing out to a way forward that is fair for both the EU and the UK. In this respect, we have to be clear on the transition. First, it can be discussed and agreed only after sufficient progress on the Withdrawal Agreement. Second, it should be based on the existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary, and enforcement instruments and structures, and should of course fully include free movement of citizens. Third, while some objectives links between the Withdrawal Agreement and the transitional phase might be explored, any attempt of buying access to parts of the single market through concessions on the financial settlement would be rejected.
We are in the middle of a very difficult journey. There is only one path clearly laid out, if we want to get to our final destination: the path is the one indicated by the EU and we will follow you, Michel, along this way.
Strasburgo, 3 ottobre 2017