The UK’s admission is likely to avert a full-scale dispute with EU officials over an ‘exit bill’ as the two sides prepare for talks next week.
In a written statement to Parliament, the Government recognised the need for a “financial settlement”, adding “that the UK has obligations to the EU… that will survive the UK’s withdrawal – and these need to be resolved”.
The text has been released by Brexit minister Joyce Anelay, and has been seen by Brussels as a significant and important development.
Diplomats within the EU say the wording of the statement “goes further” than Prime Minister Theresa May’s previous reference to Britain’s willingness to reach a “fair settlement” of as yet unspecified obligations.
The UK’s concessionary statement came as former Prime Minister Tony Blair called on Mrs May to consider negotiating a deal to stay within a Europe that was “itself prepared to reform and meet us halfway”.
In an article published on his own website, Mr Blair said: “Reform is now on Europe’s agenda.
“European leaders, certainly from my discussions, are willing to consider changes to accommodate Britain, including around freedom of movement.”