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UK not dealing with border issue, claims EU Commission boss

By Colm Kelpie

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has accused the UK Government of providing "no definitive response" to the border issue post-Brexit.

As day two of the latest round of Brexit negotiations got underway, Mr Juncker insisted to a gathering of EU ambassadors in Brussels that the UK's Brexit position papers to date were not satisfactory, and that there were still "enormous" issues to be settled.

Just a day after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier urged his British counterpart to "start negotiating seriously", Mr Juncker echoed the bloc's refusal to discuss the future free trade deal London wants before pencilling in terms for it leaving the EU.

"I would like to be clear that I did read with the requisite attention all the papers produced by Her Majesty's government, and none of those is actually satisfactory," Mr Juncker said.

"So there's still an enormous amount of issues which remain to be settled."

Talks resumed on Monday amid continued divisions over how much Britain must pay.

Issues involving Ireland, including the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area, are expected to be discussed today.

"Problems regarding Ireland and Northern Ireland, which are very serious problems, in respect of which we've had no definitive response," Mr Juncker said.

"But we also have the status of European citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the Continent".

He said there was a need to be "crystal clear" that negotiations on the new post-Brexit relationship, particularly the economic and trade relationship, would not be carried out before issues relating to financial obligations, citizens' rights and Ireland are dealt with.

"We cannot mix these issues up," he said. "I know that there is some partial overlapping between issues, but the European Council following up on the Commission's proposal has been crystal clear.

"First of all we settle the past before we look forward to the future."

Financial newswire Bloomberg reported that the UK has asked for more Brexit negotiating sessions, as the latest round of talks showed little sign of progress amid criticism from each side.

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