Two Weeks to Unlock Brexit, EU Tells Britain's May

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Bulgaria: Two Weeks to Unlock Brexit, EU Tells Britain's May pixabay.com

“There is more work to be done” to unlock Brexit talks, British Prime Minister Theresa May was told on Friday, as the European Union repeated an early December deadline for her to move on the divorce bill and border with Ireland, reported Reuters. 

May met fellow leaders on the sidelines of an EU summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, to try to break the deadlock over how much Britain will pay on leaving the bloc in 16 months. She signaled again that she would increase an initial offer that is estimated at some 20 billion euros, about a third of what Brussels wants.

 But without any immediate plans to detail which financial commitments Britain was planning to cover and with a growing row with Ireland over their shared border, European Council President Donald Tusk, who coordinates Brexit for the bloc’s other 27 leaders, concluded Britain must take further steps.

He increased the pressure on May to make progress by early December, in time for the EU to react at a summit on Dec. 14-15, or risk losing a chance to push the talks to a discussion of future trade ties, something London desperately wants so it can offer some certainty to nervy businesses.

Asked about Brexit minister David Davis complaining that Britain had made “all the running” in finding compromises on the third key divorce issue -- the rights of expatriate citizens, Tusk said pointedly: “I can say only that I really appreciate Mr. Davis’s English sense of humor.”

He told the news conference: ”While good progress on citizens has been made, we need to see much more progress on Ireland and on the financial settlement.

“In order to avoid any ambiguity about our work calendar, I made it very clear to prime minister May that this progress needs to happen at the beginning of December at the latest.”

But Tusk, who met May earlier on Friday, added another demand - more progress on the future status of the border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which Britain says is almost impossible to make without discussing the future trade deal as that would determine the kind of customs needed.

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Tags: David Davis, theresa may, unlock, Brexit, UK
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