EU's Brexit chief says UK 'must settle accounts'

2017-03-22 22:00
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - Britain must reach a deal on what it owes the EU and on the fate of European citizens post-Brexit before talks can start on a future trade deal, EU negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday.

Frenchman Barnier's comments were the first major statement of intent from Brussels since Britain announced on Monday that it will trigger the two-year divorce process on March 29.

He set out what he said were the key areas including the exit bill, the rights of 4.5 million EU nationals living in Britain and vice versa and what will happen to the border in Northern Ireland.

"When a country leaves the union there is no punishment...there is no price to pay to leave. But we must settle the accounts, no more, no less," said Barnier, a former European Commissioner and French minister.

"We will not ask the British to pay a single euro for something they have not agreed to as a member," he told an EU regional institution.

Barnier said Britain had outstanding obligations for regional funding, development funds and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker's investment plan, which together total obligations for the whole EU of more than €600bn.

Talks on a future trade deal to replace Britain's membership of the European single market cannot start until the terms of Britain's exit are all settled, Barnier added.

This would take "several months certainly", Barnier added.

London has argued that the two paths can be negotiated in parallel.

"The quicker we agree on the principles of an orderly withdrawal the sooner we can prepare these future relations," Barnier said.

"Conversely, if we do not end these uncertainties and push them to the end of negotiations, we will be headed for failure."

Read more on:    belgium  |  uk  |  brexit

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.