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European Union says Brexit negotiations could take longer

13 October 2017, 11:50 | Myron Mathis

European Union says Brexit negotiations could take longer

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Brexit talks have made little progress, the European Union's negotiator said on Thursday, meaning he can not yet recommend broadening the negotiations beyond the focus on the terms of Britain's exit to include key issues such as future trade relations.

Diplomats said Germany and France coordinated on Friday, to limit any watering down of the European Union position that its negotiator, Michel Barnier, can not so much as mention to his British counterparts what might come after Brexit until leaders deem there has been "sufficient progress" on three issues the European Union says must be settled before Britain leaves. That is the reason why this process will take longer than initially thought.

For the time being, we can not find a real compromise as far as the remaining financial commitments of the United Kingdom are concerned.

"As we are not able to do this we will not be able to say in the European Council in October that now we can move to the second phase of negotiations".

Stood alongside the UK's Brexit Secretary David Davis, Barnier said that Theresa May's Florence Speech had given "momentum to these negotiations" but that there was a "disturbing" deadlock over the size of the bill the United Kingdom pays to the EU. "I do not hate the British", he added.

With concern mounting about the possibility they might run out of time for any deal, Davis renewed his call for European Union leaders to give a green light to trade talks after they meet Prime Minister Theresa May at a summit in Brussels next Thursday.


But Britain says these issues are closely intertwined with their future relations like trade and must be discussed together.

"If you are sitting in a bar and ordering 28 beers and then suddenly one of your colleagues is leaving and is not paying, that is not feasible". 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. They have to pay.

While hardliners would prefer less or no talk of a future after Brexit and more about demanding money, others are keen to give May, beleaguered at home, something to show for the effort to compromise she displayed in a speech at Florence last month.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also indicated she might make a move at next week's summit.

"The Prime Minister has been clear all along on the need to reach a settlement", a Number 10 spokeswoman said.



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