Vastavam web: The European Union today warned Britain to reach a divorce deal by the end of the month to guarantee moving to trade negotiations, as Brexit talks resumed in Brussels.Fears are growing in Brussels that the chaotic political situation in London after Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a string of ministerial resignations will hamper the chances of reaching a deal on key issues, especially Britain’s contentious exit bill.”The European Council summit in October wanted to keep up the dynamic of the negotiations and I am of the same state of mind,” Barnier said. “But the real moment of clarification is coming.”
This week’s talks feature a stripped-down two-day schedule instead of the normal four days, with Barnier and his British counterpart David Davis set to meet only tomorrow morning before holding a press conference, sources said.To move on to trade talks, the EU is demanding sufficient progress on three key divorce issues, above all the bill Britain must pay to cover its budgetary commitments, a figure which senior European officials put at 60 billion euros (USD 70 billion).Britain also faces an economic slowdown, with the EU cutting its growth outlook for the country this year and warning that times would remain tough to 2019 as “uncertainty” over Brexit weighs heavily.
“We are a bit concerned about what we are seeing in the UK at the moment, we want a strong negotiating partner,” an EU diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.”I see a strong willingness to come to a deal. I am confident that everybody understands what has to be done on both sides. The question is, Do they have the strength? And will the moves be made in time by the end of November, first week of December?” Failure to do so would probably push back the move to one of the next summits in February or March, leaving only around six months to reach a deal by October 2018, the timeline Barnier has set in order for the withdrawal agreement to be ratified by Brexit day in March 2019.
The latest round is the first since EU leaders agreed at an October 20 summit to start internal work on a trade deal, while also warning that Britain had made insufficient progress on the divorce to start formal discussions.The EU says Britain must provide written guarantees of a pledge to honour the financial commitments that May made in a speech in Florence, Italy, in September.The parliament also rejected fresh proposals by Britain this week on protecting the rights of the three million EU nationals living in Britain after Brexit.