EU adds haste with call for UK Brexit progress in 2 weeks

Virginia Mayo, Associated Press

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, and British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis participate in a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. The EU and Britain conducted a sixth round of Brexit negotiations on Friday.

BRUSSELS — As if British Prime Minister Theresa May wasn’t facing enough pressure at home, the European Union piled on more Friday by insisting there must be real progress in the Brexit talks in the next two weeks if Britain wants negotiations to move on to future trade relations next month.

After another inconclusive negotiating session, both sides said differences remained on vital divorce issues including Britain’s Brexit bill, the Irish border and the rights of citizens affected by Brexit.

EU leaders are due to assess at a Dec. 14-15 summit whether “sufficient progress” has been made on divorce terms to move to phase two of the talks, as Britain desires.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier confirmed that means Britain needs to make a shift within two weeks to give the 27 other EU leaders time to assess things before their December meeting.

The biggest stumbling bloc remains money. Britain has said it will pay to settle commitments it has made to the EU budget, but has not agreed to the EU’s estimated bill of some 60 billion euros ($70 billion).

Barnier said it was “imperative” to turn into concrete commitments May’s promise that Britain will pay its financial dues before leaving the EU on March 29, 2019.

In a recognition that progress has been slow, U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis said that “we need to see flexibility, imagination and…

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