The Latest: EU says Britain has to meet budget commitments
Posted September 7
LONDON — The Latest on Britain's exit from the European Union (all times local):
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has insisted that Britain should meet all the budget commitments it has made to the bloc.
Both sides have been bickering about what Britain will owe the bloc when it leaves in March 2019. London is complaining that the EU is seeking far too much.
Barnier said former Prime Minister David Cameron signed up to the EU's 7-year budget in 2013, and that the British parliament confirmed this.
At a press briefing in Brussels, Barnier said any commitment by the 28 member states "need to be honored" by all 28.
"Right up to the end, it is as simple as that," Barnier said of the British obligation on the 7-year budget. "To have confidence, you have to balance the books."
Estimates on what Britain would have to pay once it leaves have ranged from 40 to 60 billion euros ($48-72 billion).
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says Britain's stance on issues relating to Ireland is worrisome and that a solution to the border issue will require a "unique" solution.
Progress on the Irish border is one of the three items of separation that the EU wants to see before it can sanction talks on a new post-Brexit relationship with Britain.
Both sides have said the Irish issue is a key challenge during the Brexit discussions especially with regard to how it affects the peace process in Northern Ireland.
"We are not there yet," Barnier said.
Discussions over Britain's exit from the EU have also made little headway so far on the other two issues that the EU wants resolved, namely citizens' rights and the divorce bill Britain will have to pay when it leaves the bloc in March 2019.
The British government is battling to pass a major plank of its Brexit plans through Parliament, amid faltering progress in divorce talks with the EU.
Lawmakers are starting debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which will revoke thousands of EU laws and regulations and replace them with domestic statute on the day the U.K. leaves the bloc.
The government says the legislation is crucial to disentangle Britain from the EU after more than four decades of membership.
Prime Minister Theresa May says it will "prevent a cliff-edge for people and businesses, because it provides legal certainty."
Critics say the bill gives the government powers to change laws without parliamentary scrutiny. The main opposition Labour Party calls the bill "a power grab" and says it will vote against it.