EU says rift over British payments after Brexit still key in talks

The UK desperately wants talks to move on to future trade and security arrangements.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks in Brussels. Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union insisted Tuesday (3 October) that Brexit negotiations with the UK will not move on to future relations until enough progress on such things as London's exit payment has been made.

The UK desperately wants talks to move on to future trade and security arrangements but EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a session at the European Parliament that more needs to be done on the withdrawal issues first.

Juncker said "the taxpayers in the EU 27 should not pay for the UK decision" to leave while the bloc's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said "serious differences remain" on how many bills the UK. still has to settle.

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Estimates vary widely from €20b (£17.7bn) to over three times that amount.

"Serious rifts remain, especially on the financial settlement," Barnier said. "We will not pay at 27 what has been decided at 28, it is simple as that."

EU parliamentarians were set to approve a resolution later Tuesday that will call for a postponement of any move to widen the talks with Britain, unless "a major breakthrough" takes place during the fifth round of negotiations in Brussels next month.

Observers said decisive progress was highly unlikely. The moves further dampened hopes that the EU leaders would give the green light to an expansion in the talks at a summit on 19-20 October.

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