But there’s more at stake. The EU has complained that the U.K. government hasn’t been clear about citizens’ rights nor about the issue of the Irish border. All of these subjects are crucial and are to be agreed on at the same time, otherwise the EU will not discuss how both could work in the future.

“The sooner we receive clarification on the British positions on the topics, that we haven’t heard from them on, the better.”

Barnier said that his team is ready to work day and night, weekends and holidays if necessary, but it first needs to know where the U.K. government stands.

The government led by Prime Minister Theresa May has made an initial proposal on citizens’ rights but the EU has complained that it does not go far enough. It doesn’t provide the same level of reciprocity to EU citizens’ living in the U.K. compared to the British living in other European countries, Barnier said.

“Quite frankly it’s not really in my nature or in my philosophy to try and push our partners across the table to the edge. Particularly not on this specific topic of citizens’ rights,” Barnier said. “I hope we will find an intelligent solution to this at least on the principle of reciprocity,” he added.

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