British Minister: No Figure on Cost of Brexit Offered to Unlock Talks

On Sunday, David Davis, the Brexit Minister said that Britain would not offer a figure or a formula for how much it thinks it owes the European Union after the EU required that London spell out its strategy to the final bill to unblock discussions.

Without movement in the negotiations to unravel over 40 years of union, Britain may miss a deadline that was set in December to move the talks to a discussion of future trade ties, which businesses state is important for them to make investment decisions.

Both sides are disappointed by the shortage of progress, and last week, Michel Barnier, the negotiator of the European Union, said that Britain had two weeks to outline how far it would “honour its obligations” in order to break the deadlock.

However, Davis informed Sky News that the European Union had agreed that Britain would not require offering “a number or a formula” for the financial deal when London accepted the schedule of the bloc for the talks – first a discussion regarding the divorce and second, regarding future ties.

“In every negotiation, each side tries to control the timetable. The real deadline on this is, of course, December,” said Davis, referring to the next European Union summit that is set to take place in Brussels on December 14 to 15, when Britain hopes that the bloc will begin the next stage of the talks.

“(British taxpayers) would not want me to just come along and just give away billions of pounds. So we’ve been very, very careful, and it’s taking time and we will take our time to get to the right answer.”

PM Theresa May says that she cannot give a figure for the financial settlement until her government understands what the future relationship will be. However, she also does not want to anger campaigners of Brexit who have proposed Britain walk away.

Brexit supporter and the billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, James Dyson, said that he did not criticise the government for the lack of progress. However, he questioned whether Britain could ever get hold of a good deal.

“The problem is with the people we are negotiating with. I think that demanding billions and billions to leave is quite outrageous, and demanding it before we’ve negotiated anything is outrageous,” said Dyson to the BBC. “So I would walk away.”

Both sides say that they are prepared for a “no deal” – a message that is reiterated by the European Union’s Barnier in the French weekly Journal du Dimanche, where he also asked Britain to detail the financial commitments that it would honour.

“Theresa May has committed to paying the contributions of 2019 and 2020, as well as other commitments, without specifying which ones,” said Barnier to the Journal du Dimanche.

“The European taxpayer should not pay the price of a decision made … by the United Kingdom.”