Theresa May preparing to offer ‘extra £20bn to Brexit divorce bill’
Theresa May is reportedly set to offer the European Union an extra £20bn as part of Britain’s divorce bill from the bloc.
And the sum would come on top of the £18bn the Prime Minister said she would pay to win a transitional deal in her Florence speech in September.
The Sun reports that British negotiators believe the sum would allow the UK to begin talks on its future trade relationship with the bloc in December, when the European Council meets.
But while Mrs May will apparently stop short of putting an exact figure on her offer, she will give Brussels an outline on what areas she believes Britain owes money ahead of the summit.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier last week said Britain had 14 working days to outline what they are willing to pay, however the paper says Number 10 could wait until early December.
A Government spokesman repeated their position yesterday that the “financial settlement will only be resolved in the context of our future relationship”.
The move to talk trade at December’s summit follows six months of wrangling on the initial stage of talks, which had been expected to conclude in October.
UK MUST 'CLARIFY COMMITMENT'
The report comes after a meeting between Mrs May and Manfred Weber, an ally of Angela Merkel in the European Parliament.
The German MEP said after the meeting that while the figure on the exit bill did not have to be concrete for talks to move on, Britain had to “clarify its commitment” on what it owes.
He said: “When somebody is leaving the club then such a person or such a member state has to pay the open bill. That is what we are asking for - simply fairness, simply to do what you promised to do.”
However Mr Weber said he had been left “more optimistic”, having recently said that the EU was unlikely to recommend moving talks on to trade and transition next month.
But he added: “There is progress and a will to see progress. The atmosphere is positive but we need clear and concrete commitments to step into the second phase. For now the green light is not there.
“I see the will to talk about the issues. I don’t want to comment on what she told me in the private dialogue. But it is clear there are points on the table.”
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