The Brexit negotiations are in a “very disturbing state of deadlock” over Britain’s divorce bill but decisive progress before Christmas is still within reach, the EU’s chief negotiator has said.
Michel Barnier told reporters during a joint press conference with the Brexit secretary, David Davis, that he would would not be able to recommend to EU27 leaders at a summit in Brussels next week that “sufficient progress” had been made to allow talks over future trade relations to begin.
The main stumbling block continues to be the UK’s refusal to accept the EU’s analysis of what it will owe on leaving the bloc in March 2019, with Barnier saying at the end of the fifth round of talks that there was no question of him making “concessions”.
Estimates on the size of the divorce bill have varied from around €60bn to €100bn (£54bn to £90bn).
Barnier acknowledged the momentum given to the talks by Theresa May’s speech in Florence, where she said the UK would both pay around €20bn to ensure no member state would lose out in the two years directly after Brexit, and honour its existing financial commitments. “This week, however, the UK repeated that it was still not ready to spell out these commitments,” Barnier said.
“On this question we have received a state of deadlock, which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters and very disturbing also for taxpayers … I’m not able to propose to next week’s European council that we start discussions on the future relationship.”
This situation could bring harsh legislative and economic measures, that will affect millions of British citizens, along with residents of other nationalities within the UK. On a bigger scale, it will directly impact the whole EU in ways that the Brexit was already going to affect, but now with these tensions rising it could lead to very unclear future conditions, and its consequences could be nothing short of grave. Diplomacy must win the day, and clear legislations around the bill must meet the standards of the EU community, while also making a solid stand against measures that could obstaculize or damage the UK and its relations with EU, in order to ensure a safe and swift transition that avoids any unnecessary conflict.
The “decision of the old” –as the young British call the Brexit– keeps bringing concerns of what’s going to happen and how its consequences are going to hit the future of UK and the future of members of the EU.
Internally, more than half of the UK population is worried about where the county is going to get the money to pay the exit bill. This condition is reflected in distress of thousands of project promoters and also of taxpayers. This situation may cause the youth discomfort, not to mention de mobility issue of the British in Europe and vice versa. Internationally, the divorce bill is causing concern, especially for the statement given by Michel Barnier about paying it after other matters have been resolved.
Uncertainty over the conditions of the separation agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom has risen, which will likely provoke a negative impact on the region’s international perception. For the specific case of the UK, its bonds’ price may suffer a new negative shock, as well as pound sterling’s value in the foreign exchange market. Although London has announced its government will defray all costs provoked by its exit from the Union, it’s a reality that investment is likely to suffer a downgrade, as well as trade and tourism.