As the December deadline for settling financial matters between the UK and EU is nearing, the EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources stressed that the union cannot pay Britain’s bills.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Gunther Oettinger, is increasing pressure on the UK authorities amid the lack of progress in London’s talks with Brussels on the withdrawal from the European Union, according to the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
“Europe cannot pay the United Kingdom’s bills. We can acknowledge that the UK [authorities] cannot, or do not want to fulfill their promises,” he told the media outlet.
The European Union does not aim to harm the United Kingdom, Oettinger continued, adding that the bloc wants to prevent possible damage to its member states.
Oettinger also pointed out, that both the EU, and the UK economies needed clarity, so he expects a “clear statement” by mid-December, according to the newspaper.
READ MORE: Hurry Up! EU Leaders Warn UK Risks Missing Brexit December Deadline
The first phase of the ongoing Brexit talks between London and Brussels is dedicated to the financial settlement between the parties, as well as citizens rights, and the border between the United Kingdom’s Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
On Friday, European Council President Donald Tusk set early December as a deadline for the United Kingdom to make progress in talks with Brussels on the issues of financial settlement, and the Irish border in order for Brexit talks to move to the second phase this year.
On October 20, the leaders of 27 EU states agreed to start internal preparations for the second phase of the Brexit talks. The heads of state and government also decided that they would reassess the existing progress in the talks at their summit in December, which is required to move to the second phase of negotiations.
The lack of progress in the talks, acknowledged by a number of EU officials, has however cast doubts that the negotiations can move to the next phase before 2018.
On Friday, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed hope that the parties to Brexit negotiations would reach the needed agreement before the deadline. However, work needs to be done for it, the official noted.
Since the summer of this year, negotiations have been held on the conditions for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the main topics are the rights of citizens, the Irish border and the settlement of financial obligations.