EU gives UK two-week deadline on Brexit divorce bill

  10 November 2017    Read: 678
EU gives UK two-week deadline on Brexit divorce bill

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has set the British government a deadline of two weeks to give “vital” clarification on the financial commitments it is willing to honour, according to Guardian.

Asked at the end of a truncated sixth round of Brexit talks whether Britain needed to offer answers on its financial settlement within a fortnight, Barnier told reporters: “My answer is yes.”

During a joint press conference with the Brexit secretary, David Davis, there were few signs of any progress having been made since an October summit of EU leaders ruled that insufficient progress had been made to allow talks on a future trading relationship to begin.

On the biggest hurdle to progress, the divorce bill, Davis simply repeated Theresa May’s pledges from her Florence speech in September: to ensure that no member state lost out in the two years after Britain left the bloc, and to honour past commitments.

The EU is demanding clarity on those commitments before it will open talks on a transition period or the principles of a future trading deal.

Barnier said: “I have to present a sincere and real progress to the European council and the European parliament.”

EU leaders need to decide at a summit in mid-December whether “sufficient” progress has been made on preliminary issues to allow the talks to move on to future relations, a stage Britain is desperate to reach.

Meanwhile, Davis batted away the suggestion from the Irish government and the European commission, as detailed in a leaked paper seen by the Guardian, that the issue of the Irish border could be settled by keeping the province in the single market and customs union.

He told reporters that there would be “no new border in the United Kingdom”.

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