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Clash over monetary payment by UK at Brexit talks
Oct '17
Clash over monetary payment by UK at Brexit talks
The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) are clashing over Brexit talks as is evident from media reports from both sides. After British finance minister Philip Hammond termed Brussels as the ‘enemy’, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said any gratitude for British military defence of Europe did not exempt it from paying its dues.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the recent week-long tough talks between both sides had reached a ‘deadlock’. On the other hand, senior British ministers are losing faith in the EU’s willingness to strike a deal and the British Government fears the talks will break down unless the EU gives ground at a key summit starting in Brussels on October 19, according to a report in a top British daily.

Hammond later said he regretted his choice of words and denied that the talks were deadlocked. The UK is set to cut its membership with the EU in March 2019.

Various reasons have stalled the talks, but the biggest reason reportedly is an inadequate financial offer from the UK, particularly over the so-called ‘divorce bill’. Addressing students at Luxembourg University recently, Juncker pointed toward the British Government’s failure to commit to honouring its financial obligations to the bloc on leaving it.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Juncker said after dining together in Brussels recently that the stalled talks ‘should accelerate over the months to come’.

According to one interpretation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the UK would not be required to pay anything in the absence of a withdrawal agreement, because the treaty says nothing about any such payments. But no deal on money would imply ‘no deal’ on other issues, such as rights of EU citizens. Moreover, quitting without an agreement would inflict significant reputational damage to the UK.

The British House of Lords acknowledges ‘competing interpretations’ on what the UK should pay, but concludes there would be no enforceable obligation to make the UK pay any financial contribution, as the TEU does not say anything on monetary payments. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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