Thank you Michel.
I’m pleased to be back in Brussels with you for the fourth round of negotiations.
We expect this to be a busy week. One that will set us on the important path towards our future partnership. The Prime Minister’s speech on Friday set out clearly the leadership and flexibility needed to make a success of these negotiations.
This round, for me, will be about building on the technical work done in previous rounds and the concrete proposals provided by the speech in Florence. It will be now for our teams to work through those details this week.
On Citizens’ Rights we will incorporate the agreement fully into UK law and take steps to ensure consistent interpretation. We hope to make progress on issues like the onward movement of UK citizens in the EU, and voting rights in local elections. We both want to avoid changes to the way citizens enjoy their rights and our proposals will deliver that.
On Northern Ireland and Ireland we made good progress at the last round, as you said, with a common desire to maintain the Common Travel Area and protect the Good Friday Agreement. This week will now be about crunching through the technical detail of how we, together, make that happen.
On the financial settlement, as part of a smooth and orderly exit, we do not want our EU partners to worry that they will need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave. The UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership.
But it’s obvious that reaching a conclusion on this issue can only be done in the context of and in accordance with our new deep and special partnership with the EU.
So the UK is absolutely committed to work through the detail.
We are laying out concrete proposals and there are no excuses for standing in the way of progress.
It will take pragmatism on both sides to make headway, and I hope we can achieve that this week.