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Brussels makes May ‘pre-talks’ pledge

1 min read

European Union leaders yesterday softened their position on Brexit talks following meetings with Theresa May in Brussels.


Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said she was in “absolutely no doubt” the EU and the UK could conclude successful negotiations, and invited Britain to bring forward “ideas” for preliminary trade talks.

European Council President Donald Tusk said that while progress was "not sufficient" to begin trade talks with the UK now, that "doesn't mean there is no progress at all”.

Ms May said the meetings had been “an important moment” but added: “I know we still have some way to go”.

Formal trade talks will not begin until there is agreement on how much Britain will pay to settle its EU commitments. 

In her speech in Florence last month, Ms May indicated the UK was willing to pay £18bn. EU leaders are thought to be asking for at least twice that amount. 

“The financial settlement will not be easy for me,” Ms May told leaders at a Thursday night dinner, according to diplomatic sources. “But Florence was not my last word.”

The European Commission has offered three new rounds of Brexit talks before December.

 

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