European Union says Brexit talks 'deadlocked' but progress possible


European Union says Brexit talks 'deadlocked' but progress possible

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday (12 October) that the fifth round of talks with the United Kingdom ended in a "deadlock" over the divorce bill and that he would not propose to European Union leaders next week to move talks onto the trade phase.

A worst-case Brexit scenario could see all air traffic between the United Kingdom and the European Union grounded the day after Britain leaves the bloc on 29 March, 2019, the country's Chancellor said on Wednesday (11 October).

Barnier and his British counterpart, Brexit Secretary David Davis, told reporters on Thursday there had been some progress this week on the other two issues around Britain's March 2019 withdrawal from the bloc on which the European Union demands "sufficient progress" before it will agree to discuss a transition and future relationship.

At a press conference in Brussels today, Mr Barnier said: "This week we worked in a constructive spirit and we clarified certain points without however making any great steps forward".

"Regarding that question we are at an impasse, which is very worrying for thousands of projects everywhere in Europe and also worrying for those who contribute", he said.

Barnier said that there was "deadlock" on the issue of the scale of Britain's financial settlement and that there had been no negotiations on the issue this week.

But Britain says these issues are closely intertwined with their future relations like trade and must be discussed together.

"I make no secret of the fact that to provide certainty we must talk about the future", Mr Davis said. The pound traded down by as much as 0.6 percent against the euro after Barnier spoke.

European estimates on the size of the divorce bill have varied from around 60 billion euros to 100 billion euros ($70-120 billion), but Prime Minister Theresa May's government has rejected such numbers without clearly explaining how the amount should be calculated.

But he added: 'This week, however, the United Kingdom repeated that it was still not ready to spell out these commitments. "There have therefore been no negotiations on this subject".

The European Union said talks hit a wall over what the United Kingdom owes when it leaves, increasing the chances of a messy departure as time is running out to clinch a deal. "With David Davis, we will organise several negotiating meetings between now and the end of the year".

"No deal will be a very bad deal, huh?"