Juncker: Bri­tain ‘will have to pay’ for leav­ing EU

Iran Daily - - International -

EU Com­mis­sion chief Jean-claude Juncker said Fri­day that Bri­tain must “pay” for its fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments to start Brexit trade talks.

Juncker’s com­ments came a day af­ter the EU’S chief Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier said there was a “dis­turb­ing dead­lock” over the bill, and not enough progress for lead­ers to agree at a sum­mit next week to open talks on fu­ture re­la­tions, AFP re­ported.

“The Bri­tish are dis­cov­er­ing, as we are, day af­ter day new prob­lems. That’s why this process will take longer than ini­tially thought,” Juncker said.

“Not in an im­pos­si­ble way, I am not in a re­venge mood, I am not hit­ting the Bri­tish. The Euro­peans have to be grate­ful for so many things Bri­tain has brought to Europe, dur­ing war, af­ter war, be­fore war, every­where and ev­ery time.

“But now they have to pay.”

The for­mer Lux­em­bourg prime min­is­ter added that a row over the rights of three mil­lion EU ci­ti­zens liv­ing in Bri­tain was “non­sense”.

“I don’t even un­der­stand this prob­lem. Why not say eas­ily, with com­mon sense, which is not a po­lit­i­cal cat­e­gory as we know, that things will stay as they are?” Juncker said.

The EU says Bri­tain has to make suf­fi­cient progress on three di­vorce is­sues – the bill, the rights of EU ci­ti­zens in Bri­tain, and North­ern Ire­land – be­fore open­ing the trade ne­go­ti­a­tions Lon­don wants. EU sources have put the bud­getary com­mit­ments it says Bri­tain owes at around 100 bil­lion euros ($118 bil­lion), while Bri­tain says the true fig­ure is about one­fifth of that.

EU lead­ers meet­ing in Brus­sels next week are ex­pected to say that there is not likely to be enough progress un­til the next sum­mit in De­cem­ber, but that the bloc should be­gin in­ter­nal prepa­ra­tions for trade talks now.

Lead­ers of the 27 re­main­ing EU mem­ber states will meet for the sum­mit in Brus­sels on 19-20 Oc­to­ber. They will call on Barnier to be­gin “in­ter­nal prepara­tory dis­cus­sions” on the tran­si­tion and trade but will refuse to be­gin talks with the Bri­tish.

Jean-claude Juncker INTS KALNINS/REUTERS

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