Top Brexit campaigner criticizes EU for "unnecessarily hardline" approach to divorce talks

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-30 02:45:06|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, June 29 (Xinhua) -- One of the leading organizers of the Brexit referendum campaign which took Britain on a path to leave the European Union (EU) said on Friday that the EU had up to now been "unnecessarily hardline in its approach to negotiations."

VoteLeave is the official Brexit campaign in the 2016 EU referendum. Its chief executive Matthew Elliott told Xinhua on Friday afternoon: "A lot of movement to date has been on the side of the British negotiators whereas the EU negotiators have been unnecessarily hardline in their approach.

"The British negotiators have sought to find a friendly outcome to the Brexit process, it should be Barnier and the EU who start ceding some ground and soften their position."

According to reports, EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, arriving at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, have told journalists: "On Brexit we have made progress, but huge and serious divergence remains."

British Prime Minister Theresa May is to hold a meeting next week with her cabinet to finalize the details of a white paper which will further outline Britain's stance on Brexit.

May's cabinet is divided over its approach, with some cabinet ministers seeking a greater compromise with the EU over issues such as the free movement of people, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and free access to a common market in goods and services.

Barnier briefed leaders of the EU27 on progress in talks and the EU27 issued a summit communique on the European Council website expressing "concern that no substantial progress had yet been achieved on agreeing a backstop solution for Ireland/Northern Ireland."

The EU27 in its communique called for work to be accelerated on obtaining a political declaration on the framework for the future relationship. "This requires further clarity as well as realistic and workable proposals from Britain as regards its position on the future relationship," the communique said.

Elliot said that the EU needed to soften its stance.

"I hope we will see a sensible Brexit out of this with the EU starting to negotiate in a friendly and cooperative way which the British government has been doing to date."