European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has slapped down Boris Johnson over his claim that Brussels could “go whistle” if it expected large sums from Britain as part of the withdrawal agreement.
Asked about the Foreign Secretary’s comment, Michel Barnier pointedly referred to the tight deadline to reach a trade agreement ahead of the March 2019 date for Brexit
“I’m not hearing any whistling, just the clock ticking.” Mr. Barnier said Britain must offer more clarity on its position on the “divorce bill” financial settlement with the EU – as well as the status of expat citizens and the nature of the future border with the Republic of Ireland – if it is to make progress towards a deal on trade arrangements after Brexit.
His comments came as credit ratings agency Moody’s warned that the UK’s creditworthiness was “under pressure” due to uncertainty over the result of Brexit negotiations and that Britain would face “materially weaker” growth if it failed to secure a good deal on trade.
Speaking after briefing European Commissioners in Brussels, Mr Barnier said the first round of negotiations with Brexit Secretary David Davis last month had been useful, but warned: “The hard work starts now.”
With the second round of talks opening on Monday in Brussels, Mr Barnier said the UK needs to engage substantially on issues of citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and borders, as well as future membership of Euratom and the treatment of goods placed on the market before Brexit.
“The EU positions are clear,” said Mr Barnier.
“We now need to know the UK’s position on each of these issues in order to make progress. We need to know on which points we agree and which points we disagree so that we can negotiate in earnest.”
“My aim is to make good progress next week and at our next session in August on all issues. We cannot remain idle as the clock is ticking.”
The UK must accept that it has financial obligations relating to previous commitments to pay into EU budgets, Mr Barnier said.
No figure has yet been put on the payment, but European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker suggested it could come in at around 60 billion euro (£53 billion), while unconfirmed reports have put it as high as 100 billion euro (£89bn).
“On the financial settlement, it is essential that the UK recognizes the existence of financial obligations, which are simply the result of the period during which they were members of the EU, in particular in the current multi-annual financial framework”.
Mr Barnier said that he will meet Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, as well as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the progress of Brexit talks, but he stressed that he will only negotiate with the UK Government.
Mr Barnier said it was a matter of “trust” for the UK to honor its financial commitments to EU programs.
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Why should they be screwed over because other people chose to vote for Brexit?Jul 12th, 2017 - 11:34 pm +1
But that's not the choice we have. The EU is refusing to even start discussing trade deals until these issues are settled, so it is very much all of our problem.
@Demon Tree its called democracy. Mind you that pillock Corbyn still thinks that he can form a government. Just how odes the cretin think he has any mandate to form a government? He LOST the general election. The EU will not protect British citizens, that is clear. The financial settlement is critical to keep the EU cash cow going, that is why they are so adamant. We will protect and control our own borders, we will not be the repository for the economic migrants that Merkel invited in and we will only pay what we are due. Equally the EU will have to pay for or relinquish British owned EU commission assets. What protections are being afforded by the EU towards British citizens in Europe and those that own properties there? None to date.Jul 13th, 2017 - 03:31 am +1
The next thing is that he will be hearing voices....NOT VOICE !Jul 13th, 2017 - 10:46 am +1