Brexit: UK rejects EU's two-week deadline for concessions
UK Brexit Secretary David Davis has rejected a two-week deadline set for further clarity on Britain’s financial obligations when it leaves the EU in March 2019.
David Davis | Photo credit: Press Association
The rebuke by Davis comes with MEPs set to discuss the current state of the Brexit talks later this week during their monthly plenary in Strasbourg.
On Friday, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, was asked if the EU needs the UK to spell out its financial plans in the next two weeks for talks to move onto the second phase of negotiations.
While he answered with a simple “yes”, EU leaders will decide in December if the current Brexit talks have yielded sufficient progress on the key issues of the divorce bill, citizens’ rights and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
On Sunday, though, Davis announced that despite Barnier’s ultimatum, the UK would not offer a new figure or formula on the Brexit bill, claiming the EU agreed to this in the original scheduling of the talks.
Davis said, “We said, alright, we’ll do this sequencing, but don’t imagine you’ll have a number or a formula for the Brexit bill at the end of it. The EU accepted that.”
On the two-week deadline given by Barnier, he said, “Well, in every negotiation, each side tries to control the timetable. The real deadline on this, of course, is December. It’s taking time and we will take our time to get to the right answer.”
Barnier, addressing a news conference at the Commission on Friday, said the EU needed to arrive at an “objective interpretation” of the UK’s pledge to honour its financial commitments to the block.
The French official added, “This is absolutely vital if we are to achieve sufficient progress in December.”
Speaking to a French newspaper on Saturday, Barnier further cautioned that a breakdown of talks was “a possibility” adding, “Everyone needs to plan for it, member states and businesses alike. We too are making technical preparations for it. On 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will become a third country.”
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