Ekaterina Zaharieva, Bulgarian Minister for Foreign Affairs (left) and Michel Barnier, Brexit EU Chief Negotiator. Photo: European Union
With the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva as Chair, the General Affairs Council (Article 50) was updated on the state of play in the talks with the United Kingdom. They listened to a presentation by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on the discussions on the outstanding withdrawal issues and on the framework for future EU-UK relations.
Commenting on the progress in the negotiations, Ekaterina Zaharieva said:
"October is only five months away and some key issues still need to be settled. We urgently need to progress on Ireland, on governance and on all other remaining withdrawal issues. We also need to provide a framework for the future relationship. Our citizens and our businesses, on both sides of the Channel, need reassurance that there will be an orderly Brexit. They also need clarity about the future relationship."
Today, ministers also started the preparations for the European Council meeting in a 27 format in June. The leaders are expected to review the state of play of the negotiations with the United Kingdom. Further details may be added to the agenda as the summit approaches.
Following today’s meeting, Ms Zaharieva gave a press conference.
Further details about the outcome of today’s meeting are available here.
Pictures and videos are available here.