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Monday, March 19, 2018, 

Barnier says hopes for deal on Brexit divorce bill 'next week'

Barnier says hopes for deal on Brexit divorce bill

Brussels, 29 November 2017 (MIA) - The EU's Brexit negotiator on Wednesday denied reports that Britain and the bloc have a deal on the UK's final divorce bill, but said he hoped an accord could be reached next week, AFP reports. 

"We read a lot of things on this subject in the press these days," said Barnier, referring to reports in British media that London and Brussels have agreed on the UK's financial obligations but had not settled on an exact amount for the so-called divorce bill.

But he stressed that "we still have work to do, the negotiation is not over on this subject."

The Telegraph has reported that London and Brussels have now accepted the British will pay between 45 and 55 billion euros ($53-63 billion), with the final figure depending "on how each side calculates the output from an agreed methodology".

Meanwhile the FT reported Britain would cover EU liabilities worth as much as 100 billion euros, but if structured as net payments over many decades, that could drop to less than half that amount.

But Barnier dismissed the reports as rumours.

"I see these articles, rumours, information," he said, pointing out that three key issues -- the rights of expatriate citizens after Brexit, the future of the Irish border, as well as the divorce bill -- remain sticking points.

"On these three subjects, I want to say that we are still not at the point where I can say that there is ... sufficient real progress" allowing both sides to move forward on talks, he said.

But he said he "hopes that very quickly, next week, to see that we have found an agreement" that would allow him to recommend to EU leaders during a summit in December to start the next phase of talks on future trade ties.

"At the moment we are not there yet, and we will continue to work," Barnier added.

An agreement on the divorce bill would be a major breakthrough ahead of the December EU summit. lk/17:40


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