David Davis and Michel
- Brexit talks set to be delayed after discussions
hit “deadlock” over the Brexit divorce bill.
- EU chief negotiator says there is “no question” of the
EU making concessions.
- David Davis insists progress has been made.
- Trade talks now likely to be held back until next
LONDON — Brexit negotiations have hit a “deadlock” over the size
of Britain’s divorce bill, the EU’s chief negotiator
said today as he confirmed he would recommend talks on
a Brexit trade deal should be delayed at least until the end of
Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs earlier this week that there
was now a “momentum” to Brexit talks adding that the “ball
is [in the EU’s] court”.
However, Michel Barnier said on Thursday that there was “no
question” of the EU making concessions on the financial
commitments Britain must meet before any Brexit deal can be
“There is no question of making concessions on citizens
rights… no question on Northern Ireland and there’s no question
of making concessions of thousands of projects across Europe
[that would be paid for by the divorce bill]” he said.
He said the UK had refused to enter negotiations over the
size of the divorce bill and added that the failure to progress
talks on this issue was “very disturbing” for both the EU and the
Because of the failure to resolve these issues, Barnier
said he could not recommend starting talks on any future
trade deal with the UK.
“On this basis I am not able under the current
circumstances to propose next week to the European Council that
we should start discussions on th efuture relationship,” he
Watch Michel Barnier: We have hit deadlock
— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) October 12, 2017
Speaking alongside the UK’s Brexit secretary David Davis at the
end of the final round of the first phase of Brexit talks,
Barnier said that while some details had been clarified, there
had been “no great step forward” in negotiations.
However he added that “decisive progress” could be “within our
grasp within the next two months.”
He also insisted that Theresa May “could find a way out of this
deadlock” if she changed Britain’s position on the
divorce bill and other divorce issues.
reportedly keen to move the talks on, but is facing
opposition from Germany and other member states who insist that
Britain must first settle its financial contributions to the EU.
Barnier has been instructed to follow the mandate given to
him by member states that there must be “sufficient progress” on
divorce proceedings before trade talks can begin.
Discussions over citizens rights and the question of what will
happen to the Northern Ireland border have also yet to be settled
in talks, Barnier said, although Davis insisted significant
progress had been made.
Davis tried to appeal to individual EU member states to intervene
to progress the talks.
“I hope the member states will recognise the progress we’ve made
and take a step forward in the spirit of the PM’s Florence
speech,” he said.
He added: “Our aim is to provide as much certainty as possible to
business, citizens and the European Union.
“And on this we are making real and tangible progress.”
Labour calls for emergency talks
secretary David Davis (L) with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel
The Labour party today called on the government to launch an
extra round of “emergency”negotiations with the EU, in order to
prevent the next phase of talks being delayed next week.
“Today’s press conference confirms that the Government has failed
to meet the target for this round of negotiations,” shadow Brexit
secretary Keir Starmer said.
“Ministers have wasted months of the Brexit talks fighting
amongst themselves. This increases the chances that Britain will
crash out of the EU without a deal. That would be catastrophic
for jobs and living standards and must be rejected as a viable
“That is why I have written to David Davis calling on the
Government urgently to request an additional emergency round of
talks with EU negotiators in the coming days to try and reach an
agreement before next week’s EU Council meeting.
“The Government must recognise the gravity of the situation. They
must drop their ideological red lines and work round the clock to
find a resolution to the current situation.”