UK Prime Minister Theresa May has denied reports on Friday morning that Britain had increased its financial offer to the European Union to facilitate its exit from the bloc.
“What I’ve made clear to my EU counterparts in relation to financial contribution is what I set out in my Florence speech, which is that I’ve said nobody need be concerned for the current budget plan that they would have to pay more or receive less as a result of the U.K. leaving and that we will honor the commitments we have made during our membership,” Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters in Brussels.
Mrs May had previously said that the U.K. would honor all of its financial commitments before leaving the EU – an incredibly important factor in the Brexit negotiations given that the remaining 27 EU countries do not want to contribute more or receive less money from the EU budget upon Brexit.
But despite that assurance, the U.K. is yet to outline a proposal for calculating the amount that it is obligated to the EU throughout its membership, something the EU covets before proceeding with talks on their future trading relationship.
“Now there needs to be detailed work on this… We are going through them line by line, will continue to go through them line by line,” May told reporters about the U.K.’s proposal for a financial settlement, though the European Commission has said that that amount could be between 60 to 100 billion euros (between $71 billion and $118 billion).
The UK’s hope for Brexit negotiations at the moment is to move forward on the payments issue, citizens’ rights and the Irish border by mid-September, in-order to avoid a hard Brexit.
But despite the current impasse, the 27 countries have nonetheless given a green light at the summit in Brussels on Friday to their technical teams so they can start preparing the next phase of negotiations, though they express little optimism over the achievement “sufficient progress” on the three key areas by mid-September, they want to be ready to kick off trade talks as soon as possible.
Lithuanian president, Dalia Grybauskaitė, upon her arrival in Brussels on Friday morning said Brexit needs to move “from words to real deeds.”
“It’s time to go for real negotiations and not just negotiating in the media by rhetoric,” she said.
In a similar reaction, Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, welcomed May’s vision to not establish a physical border in Ireland but noted that there are details missing in this area.
“There are obviously still delays on the three issues… but I think… We are making some progress,” he said.