European leaders fear that Brussels and London will not be able to move forward to the next stage of Brexit negotiations next month. Brussels wants the British government to provide more clarity on the financial conditions of Brexit.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will come under pressure as she attends an EU summit in Brussels on Friday. May will have talks with European Council President Donald Tusk in a bid to break the deadlock in the Brexit talks and progress to the second phase of negotiations.
Tusk is expected to once again bring up the question of how much London is willing to pay for its withdrawal from the 28-nation bloc, according to The Herald Scotland.
Brussels has refused to move to the next stage of Brexit talks, including discussing trade and transition agreements, until progress is made on the divorce bill and the issue of EU citizens’ rights and the Irish border.
According to the report, May, however, is unlikely to mention a specific figure to Tusk but could indicate the willingness of the British government to raise its offer on the condition that trade and transition talks start next month. Last week, British media reported that May could line up an additional £20 billion ($26 billion) to the EU as part of the divorce bill due to fears that London risks missing the December deadline.
Meanwhile, a leaked internal paper from the Irish government condemned Britain’s performance on Brexit as “chaotic,” saying that British ministers are unable to work out a coherent policy on the issue, according to RTE News. The report read that there are serious concerns among European leaders that it will be difficult to overcome the impasse in the Brexit talks and still meet the December deadline.
Last week, May already faced pressure over her government’s handling of the Brexit situation when she met several EU high-ranking officials at a summit in Gothenburg, Sweden. According to media reports, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker told May that “the clock is ticking” and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven stressed that the British government needs to clarify its position on the divorce bill.
The Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels, which kicked off on June 19, are expected to wrap up by the end of March 2019. In a referendum on June 23, 2016, about 51.9 percent of British voters said “yes” to their country leaving the EU.