Barnier Tells UK: ‘Pay Us Up Or We’ll Delay Brexit Talks’
Brussels Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier (pictured above) issued a warning to the UK government, as Brexit negotiations resumed again in Belgium yesterday. He insisted that the UK’s ‘divorce bill’ for leaving the European Union needed to be thrashed out before any discussions on a trade deal could start. And his bureaucrats warned that if the British government did not agree the figure they wanted, then the talks would be ‘stalled’.
One EU diplomat said: “Financial settlement is the priority. The EU will not walk away from talks but will stall them.
“The impression we got so far is that the UK is not ready for these talks.”
Another EU diplomat said: “It is reasonable to expect the Brits to say something other than ‘we will not pay a penny.’ If that’s not the case, what is there to talk about?”
The comments follow a statement last week, from Brexit minister Baroness Anelay, that the “Government has been clear that we will work with the EU to determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state”.
This is a defining moment in the talks and a chance for David Davis to show what type of negotiator he is going to be. If he rolls over now then we are headed for an awful Brexit that will be entirely on the EU’s terms and will be little better than what we had before. Now is the time to show that we mean business and to say clearly and firmly that we do not accept the basis of the EU’s proposed financial settlement and that we will only be prepared to discuss a SMALL divorce bill once everything else has been agreed. One of two things will then happen. Either the EU will play ball, which is likely, or else we can just take the ball away and head for an early exit. If we are going to spend two years negotiating our terms of departure then it has to be clear that we will be leaving on OUR terms. The alternative needs to be made clear – we will leave now and if that happens then the main losers will not be Britain.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com