Saturday, 29 February, 2020


"They have to pay", EU's Juncker says of Britain

Theresa May and Michael Barnier PATheresa May will launch into her toughest round of Brexit negotiations yet on Monday
Bennie Garza | 13 October, 2017, 18:01

The Brexit process will take longer than the United Kingdom thinks, according to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

"The British are discovering, as we are, new problems every day. That's the reason why this process will take longer than initially thought", he told university students in Luxembourg this morning.

He said: "We can not find, for the time being, a real compromise as far as the remaining financial commitments of the United Kingdom are concerned".

His comments echoed those of Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, who said Thursday that talks had reached "deadlock" over the U.K.'s financial obligations and that he would not recommend the European Council authorize a shift to the second phase of talks during a summit in Brussels next week.

Theresa May's speech in Florence
GETTYThereas May will beg for flexibility after her conciliatory speech in Florence last month

"It won't be easy with 28, but with 98 I imagine it to be downright impossible", Juncker said. "I'm not hating the British", he added. "But not they have to pay". The Europeans have to be grateful for so many things Britain has brought to Europe before war, during war, after war. They have to pay, they have to pay. The next possible point "sufficient progress" could be judged is in December, when the next European Council meeting is set to take place.

Juncker said he was "very worried" about separatist tendencies in Europe and had encouraged Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to ensure the situation did not get out of control.

Mr Juncker also made an impassioned plea on the subject, telling the room: "The European foreigners, as they are saying in London, they are there on the island and so many British friends are here so let them here let them there".

The issue of citizens' rights is one of the main issues to be dealt with during the negotiations, along with the land borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and Gibraltar and Spain.

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