European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker: Brexit will take longer than initially thought


The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union “will take longer than initially thought,” said the European Commission president.

Speaking in Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker said that the United Kingdom would “have to pay” for its financial obligations to the European Union in order to advance onto the second phase of negotiations.

This follows the fifth round of Brexit negotiations, after Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator, said that there was a “deadlock” in discussions regarding the financial settlement. He also said that he could not state that “sufficient progress” had been established in order to advance onto discussing a future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Juncker stated: “The British are discovering, as we are, day after day new problems. That’s the reason why this process will take longer than initially thought.”

“We cannot find for the time being a real compromise as far as the remaining financial commitments of the UK are concerned. As we are not able to do this, we will not be able to say in the European Council in October that now we can move to the second phase of negotiations.”

“They have to pay, they have to pay, not in an impossible way. I‘m not in a revenge mood. I‘m not hating the British,” Juncker added.

Negotiations have advanced much slower than expected, with the European Council possible to vote that “sufficient progress” has not been done on three key issues in the first phase of discussions at its meeting next week.

The three key issues are Ireland, the UK’s financial obligations to the EU, and citizens’ rights, which must be partially resolved before negotiators are entitled to discuss a future trade relationship after Brexit.