Brexit talks stum­ble over amount Bri­tain owes EU

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - WORLD - By Lorne Cook and Jill Law­less The As­so­ci­ated Press

BRUS­SELS — Brexit talks have hit a dead­lock on the is­sue of Bri­tain’s exit bill in the di­vorce, the Euro­pean Union’s chief ne­go­tia­tor said Thurs­day, adding that the slow-mov­ing talks won’t be broad­ened any­time soon to in­clude fu­ture trade re­la­tions.

EU ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier said that de­spite the talks’ re­cent “con­struc­tive spirit … we haven’t made any great steps for­ward.”

On the ques­tion of how much Bri­tain has to pay to set­tle its fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments to the bloc, he said: “We have reached a state of dead­lock, which is dis­turb­ing.”

Barnier said he would not be able to rec­om­mend to EU lead­ers meet­ing next week that “suf­fi­cient progress” has been made to broaden the talks to dis­cussing fu­ture Eu-bri­tish re­la­tions, in­clud­ing trade.

That can only hap­pen, the EU has said, 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.

Bri­tain is on track to leave the 28-na­tion bloc in March 2019. Many busi­nesses are wor­ried that Bri­tain could leave the EU with­out a trade deal in place, which would mean tar­iffs on ex­ports from both sides.

Bri­tish of­fi­cials said its exit terms are in­ter­twined with those on fu­ture re­la­tions like trade and must be dis­cussed to­gether.

“I hope the mem­ber states will see the progress we have made and take a step for­ward” next week, Bri­tish Brexit en­voy David Davis told re­porters.

Euro­pean es­ti­mates on the size of the di­vorce bill have var­ied from around $70 bil­lion to $120 bil­lion.

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