Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Pound drops as Brexit talks fail to progress

Pound drops as Brexit talks fail to progress

"We've reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters and taxpayers", he said, referring to the projects that depend on European Union funding and the taxpayers who foot the bill for that budget.

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday (12 October) that the fifth round of talks with the United Kingdom ended in a "deadlock" over the divorce bill and that he would not propose to European Union leaders next week to move talks onto the trade phase.

The Frenchman reserved his most cutting comments for the issue of financial commitments, saying Britain had still not spelled out what Prime Minister Theresa May promised in a key speech in Florence, Italy, last month.

Barnier said he would not be able to recommend to EU leaders meeting next week that "sufficient progress" has been made to broaden the talks to future EU-British relations like trade.

Barnier 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".

Michel Barnier said Thursday that despite the "constructive spirit" shown in this week's negotiations in Brussels, "we haven't made any great steps forward".

Barnier said that there was "deadlock" on the issue of the scale of Britain's financial settlement and that there had been no negotiations on the issue this week.

"There is a new momentum and I remain convinced today, with the political will, decisive progress is within our grasp within the next two months", he said.

In a sign of growing nerves over the possibility of a no-deal scenario - which both sides admitted they are prepared for - Mr Davis and Mr Barnier announced they will be holding further talks soon.

"No deal will be a very bad deal, huh?"

May later said the two sides were "very close to agreement" on a number of issues including citizens' rights and welcomed Barnier's recognition that progress could be made in the coming weeks.

Mr Davis said: "I hope the member states will recognise the progress we've made and take a step forward in the spirit of the PM's Florence speech".

EU President Donald Tusk warned Tuesday that the bloc might rethink whether a Brexit deal is possible if there is no progress by the end of the year.

The gridlock means that the EU's 27 remaining leaders will decide against starting discussions on a post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom when they meet in Brussels next week, or on a transitional arrangement to cushion the impact of separation.

Hammond said it's conceivable "there will be no air traffic between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the 30th of March 2019, but I don't seriously think anybody believes that is where we will get to".

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