Prime Minister Theresa May rejects reports of UK will forced to pay £50bn in a divorce settlement with the EU
Some national newspapers reported that UK will cough up £50 billion to meet the expenses to break up from the EU. She attended the EU summit meeting at Brussels on Thursday but left the venue after talks ran on into the evening. Her 27 EU counterparts remained there to discuss how they would manage the process of Brexit – but in the end devoted little more than 20 minutes to the subject, the Guardian reported.
No 10 confirmed that May had sought an assurance from fellow leaders that the rights of UK citizens living in the EU and those of EU citizens living in the UK would be resolved early on in Brexit discussions.
The prime minister told her EU counterparts that the topic should be a priority in negotiations, with Britain ready to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK as soon as British citizens in other EU countries were protected in the same way.
She had sought a deal even earlier than the start of formal negotiations, likely to begin in March, but the EU has declined to start talks without article 50 being triggered.
Helena Kennedy, the chair of the House of Lords subcommittee on the acquired rights created by EU membership, has urged EU migrants to start collecting documentation that would help prove how long they have lived in the country, to ready themselves for the post-Brexit regime.
EU Summit Meeting
Prime Minister May left the meeting without answering any questions on Britain’s break with the EU.
However, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny revealed what May told them.
Kenny said: “She would like to have the question of British citizens living in Europe and European citizens living in the UK dealt with in the early part of discussions that takes place.”
Kenny said Ireland would not sign a bilateral deal with Britain unless it agreed on its future relationship with the EU first.
There was concern in other countries about the status of their nationals in Britain after Brexit.
Meanwhile, EU leaders said negotiations over Britain’s exit would be approached in “a spirit of trust and unity”.
After May’s departure, the 27 other EU leaders met informally for 20 minutes to discuss their approach to Brexit negotiations. They agreed that European Commission official Michel Barnier would lead talks for the EU — although MEPs want a greater say.
European Council President Donald Tusk said: “Short, informal meeting had reconfirmed our principles, meaning the indivisibility of the four freedoms, the balance of rights and obligations and the rule ‘no negotiations without notification’.”
European Parliament President Martin Schulz warned the negotiations could be vetoed if MEPs are not fully involved.
Downing Street had played down suggestions that a Brexit trade deal could take 10 years to complete, after Britain’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, suggested that others in the Europe believed this could be the case.