Dinner talks were “constructive and friendly” but financial settlement remains sticking point
Just a day after Prime Minister Theresa May went to Brussels for state dinner with EU Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker and chief negotiator Michel Barnier in an effort to get a more positive progress report at the summit starting Thursday, Brexit Secretary David Davis has today stated that the UK won’t make any more offers to the EU in exit talks until after the summit, reducing the chance of any breakthrough.
“We have yet to hear the council conclusions on Friday,” Davis told lawmakers in London today, adding: “Let’s wait and see what they are before we make the next move.”
According to media reports, yesterday’s talks were “constructive and friendly” but the UK’s financial settlement with the EU continues to be a sticking point and the EU will not discuss trade until this has been settled.
Speaking to media today, Barnier said a “constructive dynamic” was needed over the next two months but “there was a lot of work to do” and issues must be tackled in the “right order”.
“At the moment we are still not yet at the first step which is securing citizen rights, guaranteeing the long term success of the good Friday agreement and finalising the accounts,” he added.
Read related story: Theresa May to dine with EU boss and Brexit secretary in Brussels today
The EU has reportedly made clear that the UK needs to make a better offer on what it’s prepared to pay when it leaves the bloc before it will agree to start discussing atrade deal. This comes just hours after ministers from EU countries stated that May needed to go further on detailing how much Britain will pay when it leaves the bloc.
“We, the 27 together, find it extremely important that substantial progress is made on all three areas,” Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders told Reuters, adding that the EU would offer May an olive branch at their summit as they would start preparing among themselves for talks on a post-Brexit transition in order to be able to engage with Britain swiftly after London delivers.
Yesterday, May had travelled with Davis to meet with the European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker in a dinner meeting in an attempt to break-through the political deadlock that has stalled negotiations and increased fears that the UK will crash out of the union without an agreement come April 2019.