'They have to pay', EU's Juncker says of Britain

13 October, 2017, 23:50 | Author: Benny Bass
  • The breakthrough follows pleas by Brexit Secretary David Davis and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier

Brexit talks have made little progress, the European Union's negotiator said on Thursday, meaning he can not yet recommend broadening the negotiations beyond the focus on the terms of Britain's exit to include key issues such as future trade relations.

The European Commission president's warning comes as the EU's 27 leaders prepare next week to begin internal discussions, without Britain, on trade after Brexit.

Juncker insisted the British "have to pay" if they want talks to begin on a future trade deal between the United Kingdom and the EU.

Hammering the point, European Union chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said in Luxembourg: "They have to pay".

Talking to students in his home country of Luxembourg, he said that the British negotiators are discovering new problems day-to-day.

The EU is refusing to fully engage in those negotiations until it judges that "sufficient progress" has been made in the three issues of the co-called Brexit bill, Ireland and citizens' rights.

For the time being, we can not find a real compromise as far as the remaining financial commitments of the United Kingdom are concerned.

"As we are not able to do this, we will not be able to say during the European Council in October that now we can move to the second phase of the negotiation, which means the shaping of the Britain/Europe future. But not they have to pay".

Mr Barnier said the financial settlement had not even been the subject of negotiations during four days of talks this week because the United Kingdom was not prepared to indicate how much it was willing to pay. I'm not in a revenge mood.

His recommendation has made it all but certain that trade talks will be delayed at least until the end of the year, heightening pressure on the UK Government to make preparations for a possible "no-deal" Brexit.

The deadlock in the talks comes despite Theresa May promising to "honour commitments" to the European Union budget made while the United Kingdom was a full member of the bloc.

The Downing Street also announced that the detail of the financial settlement was for the negotiation and that the issue could "only be resolved as part of the settlement of all of the issues that she spoke about in Florence".

The EU says this can only happen when there has been progress on the issues of the financial settlement, the rights of citizens affected by Brexit and the status of the Northern Ireland- Ireland border.

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