The EU sees progress in the dispute over financial claims on the UK because of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar European Union membership referendum. There has been “movement in the last 24 hours with regard to the financial agreement,” EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said Wednesday. However, neither Brussels nor London confirmed reports that they were already in agreement. The British “Daily Telegraph” had reported that both sides had agreed in principle on an amount of 45 to 55 billion euros.
The Financial Times (Wednesday’s edition) also wrote that London has bowed to EU demands for the exit bill. The sheet called but no agreed amount.
Negotiations on key exit issues, including the future rights of the 3.2 million EU citizens in Britain and the border with Northern Ireland, continued, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said during a visit to Berlin . “We do not agree – regardless of the articles, the rumors I read in the papers.”
Brussels insists that following Brexit in March 2019, London will meet all financial commitments made during EU membership, including EU pension claims. EU officials estimate the financial claims at up to 60 billion euros, the British offer was previously around 20 billion euros.
Barnier reiterated that the future EU, with only 27 states, would not be responsible for what was decided with 28 countries. “So we have to settle,” said the Frenchman. Hogan said he “would very much welcome the fact” if the UK had made proposals “very close to the demands” of the EU.
The British Brexit Ministry merely stated that the “intensive discussions” in Brussels continued. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” said British Finance Ministry number two Liz Truss in the British Parliament.
In fact, only with “sufficient progress” in all three areas, will the EU begin negotiations on future relations with London and a possible trade agreement. This is not yet the case, said Barnier on Wednesday. Whether phase two of the Brexit negotiations can be launched, EU leaders should decide at their summit in mid-December.
According to Hogan’s assessment, the rights of EU citizens have also made “many advances”. The Northern Ireland question, on the other hand, was “a difficult issue,” said the Commissioner, who is himself from Ireland. But he expects that there will be “movement in the coming days”.
EU Council President Donald Tusk has set a deadline for British Prime Minister Theresa May until Monday to make proposals ahead of the summit in the Brexit negotiations. May then meets in Brussels with Tusk and Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker.