UK will 'have to pay' for Brexit trade talks, says EU president Juncker

Also said Brexit will take longer than initially thought

The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker took a hardline approach today when he said that Britain will have to pay for Brexit if it wants to begin talks over trade and a transition deal with the EU, and also adding that Brexit will take longer than initially thought.

“I am not hating the British. The Europeans have to be grateful for so many things Britain has brought to Europe, during war, before war, after war, everywhere and every time, but now they have to pay,” Juncker said today, just days ahead of the European council summit when the EU leaders could consider taking the first steps towards trade and transition negotiations.

Juncker also clarified that Brexit may “take longer than initially thought” as the remaining 27 EU member states will not sanction the start of the second phase of talks at the summit next week: “We cannot find for the time being a real compromise as far as the remaining financial commitments of the UK are concerned.”

“As we are not able to do this we will not be able to say in the European Council in October that now we can move to the second phase of negotiations.”

“Things have to be done, one has to deliver. If you are sitting in a bar and if you are ordering 28 beers, and then suddenly some of your colleagues is leaving and he is not paying, that is not feasible. They have to pay, they have to pay, not in an impossible way,” Juncker said.

Responding to the comments, Downing Street clarified that Prime Minister Theresa May had made clear in her recent Florence speech the UK would honour its financial obligations. “We will honour our commitments — the commitments that we have made during our period of membership of the EU — but the detail is for negotiation,” a Number 10 spokeswoman said.

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