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13 November 2017

EurActiv: UK no closer to revealing Brexit bill offer

Brexit minister David Davis said Britain will not offer a figure or a formula for how much it believes it owes the European Union

With no movement in the negotiations to unravel more than 40 years of union, Britain may miss a December deadline to move the talks to a discussion of future trade ties, which businesses say is vital for them to make investment decisions.

Both sides are frustrated by the lack of progress, and last week, EU negotiator Michel Barnier said Britain had two weeks to spell out how far it would “honour its obligations” to break the deadlock.

But Davis told Sky News the EU had agreed Britain would not need to offer “a number or a formula” for the financial deal when London accepted the bloc’s schedule for the talks – first a discussion about the divorce and second, about future ties.

“In every negotiation, each side tries to control the timetable. The real deadline on this is, of course, December,” Davis said, referring to the next EU summit, taking place in Brussels on 14-15 December when Britain hopes the bloc will launch the next phase of the talks.

“(British taxpayers) would not want me to just come along and just give away billions of pounds. So we’ve been very, very careful, and it’s taking time and we will take our time to get to the right answer.”

Prime Minister Theresa May says she cannot offer a figure for the financial settlement until her government knows what the future relationship will be. But she also does not want to inflame Brexit campaigners who have suggested Britain walk way.

The British leader continues to face internal political pressure, as leading members of her party disagree over the direction the party should go on in. On Friday (10 November), Barnier refused to comment on the domestic political situation but revealed he would follow the UK’s public debate closely. [...]

Both sides say they are ready for a “no deal” – a message reiterated by the EU’s Barnier in the French weekly Journal du Dimanche, where he also called on Britain to detail which financial commitments it would honour.

“It’s not my (preferred) option [no deal],” he said. “But it’s a possibility. Everyone needs to plan for it, member states and businesses alike. We too are preparing for it technically.” [...]

Full piece on EurActiv


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