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Brexit 'deadlock' prevents move to trade negotiations

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday (12 October) that the fifth round of talks with the UK ended in a "deadlock" over the divorce bill and that he would not propose to EU leaders next week to move talks onto the trade phase.

Barnier told journalists in a joint press conference with UK Brexit minister David Davis that talks on the financial settlement had only been technical this week, and the UK has not spelled out what earlier commitments it would pay for.

"We've reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters and taxpayers," he said, referring to the projects that depend on EU funding and the taxpayers who foot the bill for that budget. Barnier also said he would be not recommend to the European Council next week that talks on trade and future relations to begin, because there has been no sufficient progress in talks so far.

At the centre of the deadlock - a phrase UK officials were reluctant to use - is that the EU wants to see guarantees on what the UK is willing to pay, while the UK wants the EU to move first by beginning talks on the future before London reveals its hand on the money issue.

British prime minister Theresa May said last month in her keynote Florence speech that the EU countries should not pay more or receive less from the EU budget after Brexit, and said commitments made by the UK as a member would be honoured. However, that commitment has not yet been spelled out by UK negotiators.

Despite Barnier's assessment of insufficient progress, Davis said the UK would still like EU leaders next week to give a mandate to Barnier to "broaden the negotiation" and begin talks on the two-year transition period proposed by May in Florence. 

EU leaders will come back to the issue on their December summit, and could decide that the "sufficient progress" threshold has been reached.

Source: Euobserver


Päivitetty/Updated: 12.10.2017

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