Brexit talks stall over divorce bill
period suggested by May, saying the divorce must be sorted out first.
The tough line taken by Europe on Brexit was restated by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who said in Washington Thursday that the “British people and British government have to assume the consequences of their decision” to leave. But May later said the two sides were “very close to agreement” on a number of issues including citizens’ rights and welcomed Barnier’s recognition that progress could be made in the coming weeks.
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson told the EU to step up the pace. “We’re looking for some urgency from our friends and partners, and it’s time to put a bit of a tiger in the tank and get this thing done,” he said.
Davis, a key figure in the Leave campaign in last year’s Brexit referendum, said he still hoped EU leaders could decide to shift to the next phase when they meet next week.
If that was not possible, he called on the EU to give Barnier a mandate next week to “explore ways forward” even if the next phase is not formally opened.
Deal or no deal?
In response, a draft summit statement by the EU leaders said they would reassess progress in December and if the verdict is positive they will issue guidelines for trade talks plus a transition. “In order to be fully ready for such a scenario, the European Council invites (ministers) together with the Union negotiator to start internal preparatory discussion,” said the draft obtained by AFP.
The concession, however slight, comes amid growing concerns that Britain could leave without a deal, which could cause huge economic disruption on both sides of the English Channel.
Barnier warned that “a ‘no deal’ will be a very bad deal” after May admitted this week that her government was setting aside money for a so-called hard Brexit.