Sterling slides as Brexit talks hit a 'deadlock'

Cheryl Sanders
October 12, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday Britain was making good progress in its divorce talks with the European Union and that she looked forward to moving on to discuss future trade partnerships soon. On the question of how much Britain has to pay to settle its financial commitments, he said: "We have reached a state of deadlock, which is disturbing".

The leaders meet in Brussels on October 19-20, and with time short to seal a deal it had been hoped they would agree to widen the talks.

However, Barnier said there had been progress in other areas, including citizens' rights, and he hoped there will be positive developments within the next two months.

However, he told the news conference that he would follow a mandate ruling out any discussion of the future before issues arising from Britain's past membership are settled and said it was important to respect the "sequencing".

U.K. Brexit Secretary and negotiator David Davis said progress was made on the citizens' rights, one of the key points in negotiations. "I hope the leaders of the 27 will provide Michel with the means to explore ways forward with us on that". It's up to them whether they do it.

The European Union said talks hit a wall over what the United Kingdom owes when it leaves, increasing the chances of a messy departure as time is running out to clinch a deal.

"At its next session in December, the European Council will reassess the state of progress in the negotiations with a view to determining whether sufficient progress has been achieved", the draft said.

Britain is on track to leave the 28-nation bloc in March 2019.

Mr Barnier made clear, however, that despite new momentum from concessions given by May in a speech at Florence on Sept 22, the British positions on money, expatriate citizens' rights and the Irish border still fell short of the "significant progress " set as a condition for opening the trade negotiations.

"The UK repeated that it was still not ready to spell out these commitments", Barnier said. "There have therefore been no negotiations on this subject".

The group said this was "clearly inconsistent with a status quo transition, in which we would need to accept the four freedoms".

The British government is under pressure from euroskeptic lawmakers at home to increase planning for a "no deal" Brexit - leaving the bloc without a trade agreement.

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, but the talks must be completed within about a year to leave time for European Union states' national parliaments to ratify the Brexit agreement. That will be hard in a government constantly at war with itself on the direction of Brexit.

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