EU business leaders delivered a direct warning to Theresa May today that must make new concessions to secure a Brexit transition deal.
The Prime Minister invited European business groups to Downing Street at the urging of Britain’s Confederation of British Industry.
Firms on both sides of the Channel want immediate clarity on how trading rules will work from the day Brexit happens on March 2019.
Instead the talks in Brussels are at a dangerous stalemate that could see trade talks delayed again next month – with the divorce bill the key sticking point.
The UK has so far offered to contribute around 20billion euros during a transition period – but the EU says the total figure must be more like 60billion euros.
If Mrs May hoped the presence of European businesses in No 10 would heap pressure on Brussels to give ground, she is set to be disappointed.
EU business leaders, pictured with CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn (second left) today, told Theresa May she had to make new concessions to secure a Brexit transition deal at No 10 talks
The Prime Minister invited European business groups (pictured arriving this morning) to Downing Street at the urging of Britain’s Confederation of British Industry
Business Europe President Emma Marcegaglia (pictured centre leaving the talks today) said it was up to the UK to make a ‘concrete’ proposal to end the deadlock.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier last week gave Britain just two weeks to put more cash on the table to secure a divorce deal in time for future trade talks to start next month.
The two sides are engaged in a bitter stand-off over the size of the divorce bill – with the UK offering around 20billion euros during a transition phase, but the bloc insisting the figure must be triple that figure.
Following the meeting, Business Europe President Emma Marcegaglia told the BBC World at One programme: ‘The conversation was very good. We understand that they want to go on, they want to make progress, they also expect the EU to make progress from their side.
‘I see and hope that this two weeks will be used to achieve agreement on the three important points.’
Asked if Brussels was part of the problem, Ms Marcegaglia said: ‘My view is that they both have to work more and honestly I think seeing as it’s the UK that decided to leave, it’s the UK who has to put the real concrete proposal on the table otherwise this won’t work.