The bloc’s chief negotiator Michael Barnier told a press conference that Britain needed to clarify its position in the next fortnight on what it would pay to settle its obligations to the EU for the talks in order to achieve “sufficient progress” ahead of December’s European Council meeting.
“It is just a matter of settling accounts as in any separation,” Mr Barnier said.
Talks between the EU and Britain are at an impasse over the size of the divorce bill. British Prime Minister Theresa May has already indirectly committed Britain to paying some £20bn.
But the EU wants a commitment that could leave it liable to pay at least twice as much.
Mr Barrnier said family reunification, the right to export social benefits, and the role of the European Court of Justice in guaranteeing these rights were more of the outstanding issues.
The UK’s plans for registering EU citizens after Brexit was a “useful clarification, and good basis for further work”, he said.
Mr Barnier was speaking along with UK Brexit secretary David Davis after the sixth round of talks, which brought no results.
Mr Davis forechadowed a “streamlined and straightforward” process for EU nationals to obtain settled status but rejected suggestions in a European Commission paper suggesting that Northern Ireland remain part of the European Union single market.
Mr Davis said there could be “no new border” inside the UK.
“We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and the customs union, but that cannot come at cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom,” Mr Davis told reporters.
“We recognise the need for specific solutions for the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. But let me be clear – this cannot amount to creating a new border inside our United Kingdom.”