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Brexit 'divorce' bill: other issues need to be resolved first - Dr Pierre Purseigle

The UK government is reportedly prepared to double the bill it pays the EU in order to leave. Dr Pierre Purseigle, expert on European politics and Brexit, comments on the story.


"If this morning’s press reports are accurate, the significance of the announcement does not actually lie in the offer to increase the UK payment. It is rather in the confirmation that the UK government refuses to comply with the sequencing of talks it had agreed to. The EU has asked for three issues to be resolved before the negotiations are allowed to move on to the next stages: Ireland, citizens’ rights, and the settlement of the UK’s commitments. The latest announcement indicates that the Cabinet wants to make payment conditional on the signature of a favourable trade agreements.

"Little progress appears to have been made on the Irish question despite its critical importance to both parties. There remain outstanding issues about citizens’ rights.

"The UK government continues to play to its domestic audience about the financial settlement. It does not acknowledge this is not an exit or divorce bill, but the payment of undertaking of the UK government. Part of this money would after all be spent in the UK and on UK citizens. The idea that it would not be paid before a trade agreement is signed contradicts the Florence speech and is unlikely to go well with already frustrated European stakeholders and negotiators."

21 November 2016

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