EU Stands Together, Plays Hardball with UK Over Brexit Payment
Ahead of a summit on October 19-20, leadership from the EU has told British Prime Minister Theresa May her nation will have to increase their financial contribution before leaving. Many in London were hopeful of productive talks in regards to the proposed ‘divorce bill’.
However, after dining out with Mrs. May, several top European leaders claim Great Britain will have to commit to a financial figure before further, meaningful talks take place.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered Prime Minister wishes to clarify what post-Brexit trade with the continental bloc will yield for her country before committing to a concrete amount.
Under the leadership of Theresa May, the UK Conservative Party lost their majority in Parliament, though remain the largest minority. This loss of power in Parliament, combined with a unified European stance on Brexit, has left the Prime Minister with little bargaining power in negotiations.
Her constituents will not accept a compromise on the fiscal front, while EU leadership are refusing to begin trade negotiations until the UK agrees the fee of the ‘divorce bill’.
In September the May government offered £20 billion ($26.38 billion/€22.38 billion) to the bloc, while media speculation suggests the EU wants a figure closer to £90 billion ($118.71 billion/€100.71 billion).
UK Brexit Minister, David Davis has called this negotiation tactic ‘cynical’, as European leadership are, of course, aware of the struggles Mrs. May has faced domestically, and will simply wait out the Head of State until her offer increases.
EU leadership has taken a different tone, claiming they are more united as 27 nations than the UK is as 1. Samuli Virtanen, Finnish Deputy Minister, has gone as far as telling the media that Britain does not yet know just what they, as a nation, want from Brexit, making negotiations much more difficult.
It has also been revealed that in phone conversations between Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron, French President, as well as with Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, the continental powers are unified in their stance towards the negotiations.
With so much uncertainty around the upcoming talks at the Brussels Summit on October 19-20, it is difficult to think that great progress will be made. Both sides, however, remain optimistic that a fair compromise will be made.
For example, Minister Davis told the media on October 17 the talks will take time, but is positive there will be a, “positive outcome for everybody.”