Deadlock in EU talks over Britain's Brexit divorce bill

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-12 23:37:04|Editor: yan
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BRUSSELS, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Hopes of early progress in Britain's withdrawal from the European Union (EU) were dashed Thursday when EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there was deadlock over a divorce bill.

Barnier and Britain's Brexit Secretary David Davies addressed a media briefing after the latest round of negotiations, with both sides conceding there were still differences.

Davis said he hoped that Barnier would be able to persuade this month's meeting of the European Council to agree to move the negotiations to the next critical stage.

But Barnier responded: "I am not able in the current circumstances to propose next week to the European Council that we should start discussions on the future relationship."

The question of Britain's so-called divorce bill as part of its departure agreement has emerged as a major stumbling block.

Barnier insists that the European Council has mandated him to resolve the issue as one of its key principles before talks of a trade deal can go-ahead. He said that Britain repeated it was still not ready to spell out its commitments.

He said: "On this question we have reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters in Europe and tax payers."

But he added that with the necessary will and commitments entered into by (Prime Minister) Theresa May in her Florence speech, "we can exit this deadlock with decisive progress within grasp over the next two months".

Davies said: "We are aiming for a good, mutually beneficial deal overall. It's as simple as that. As for no deal, clearly this negotiation process is aimed at a good deal for sides. If that's not possible a government must be ready for the alternatives."

He told the briefing: "While there is still work to be done, much work to be done, we have come a long way. 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. But I make no secret of the fact that to provide certainty we must talk about the future."

Both sides accepted there had been some progress on the situation between Northern Ireland and Ireland, but there were still issues to be resolved.