World News

Barnier says hopes for deal on Brexit divorce bill 'next week'

Barnier says hopes for deal on Brexit divorce bill 'next week'

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he hoped the offer Prime Minister Theresa May will make at the EU's December summit "will be one that guarantees sufficient progress".

"We read a lot of things on this subject in the press these days", said Barnier, referring to reports in British media that London and Brussels have agreed on the UK's financial obligations but had not settled on an exact amount for the so-called divorce bill.

According to several European Union diplomats and officials, intense negotiations have led to the United Kingdom broadly agreeing to the terms of a financial settlement that could see the country paying a net amount of at least €50 billion ($59 billion) over a period of several years after it leaves the European Union in March 2019.

But he stressed that "we still have work to do, the negotiation is not over on this subject".

Earlier in the day, Barnier told a defense forum in Berlin that before EU leaders meet December 14-15, he hoped to be able to report "that we have reached a sufficient level of progress for the European council to decide to move on to the second stage of negotiating the future relationship".

More news: Peter Crouch commits to Stoke until the summer of 2019

At a later event, speaking to a business group, Barnier said that there was "still much work to do" on negotiating financial details, but said "we are working day and night with the British negotiators to find an agreement".

The final amount is around 13 percent of the UK's total liabilities committed to as a member state, including the seven-year budget ending in 2020, pension costs and outstanding loans, etc.

The news comes at a particularly crucial and sensitive moment in the entire Brexit process.

If the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier deems sufficient progress to have been made on all three issues, the green light may be given to progress the Brexit talks into the next stage, with the final decision on that to be made at a European council meeting of the bloc's leaders on December 14 and 15.

Initial reports of the agreement sent the pound substantially higher on Tuesday evening, and it has continued to rise on Wednesday morning in European trading, climbing above 1.34 against the dollar to hit a two-month high.


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