European Chief Negotiator for the UK Exiting the EU Michel Barnier yesterday dismissed as “rumors” reports of a deal between London and Brussels on Britain’s exit bill.
Citing diplomatic sources, the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times reported that London and Brussels had agreed on Britain’s financial obligations, but had not settled on an exact amount for the so-called divorce bill.
The two sides have now accepted that the British will pay between 45 billion and 55 billion euros (US$53 billion to US$63 billion), with the final figure depending “on how each side calculates the output from an agreed methodology”, the Telegraph said.
Britain would cover EU liabilities worth as much as 100 billion euros, but if structured as net payments over many decades, that could drop to less than half that amount, the Financial Times said.
However, speaking in Berlin at a security conference, Barnier described the reports as “rumors.”
“There is a subject on which we are continuing to work — despite the claims or rumors in the press today, that’s the issue of financial engagements,” Barnier said.
“We are not going to have 27 [EU members] pay for what was decided by 28; it’s as simple as that. So we want to settle the accounts,” Barnier said.
Asked about the reports, a spokesman for Britain’s Department for Exiting the EU said “intensive talks” are taking place in Brussels this week, and did not address the divorce bill directly.
The European Commission declined to comment.
An agreement would be a major breakthrough as Britain prepares for an EU summit next month where it is hoping to get the go-ahead to start the next phase of talks on future trade ties with the union.
It would leave two major areas on which the two sides still do not agree — expatriate citizens’ rights after Brexit and the future of the Irish border.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around