The path towards a compromise between London and Brussels in narrowing.
At the European Council in Gothenburg on Friday, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk delivered what British media perceived as an ultimatum. Following the meeting, he said that the UK needs to make a commitment to a bigger financial offer before December, “at the latest,” or face a “no deal” prospect.
According to Reuters, Brussels is demanding €60bn, while London is offering about a third of that. Brussels is not in reality demanding a commitment to a sum, but only a commitment to a method for the calculation of the sum.
From Sweden, Theresa May told the press she hopes the EU will “respond positively” to her government’s vision for a new economic partnership, saying nothing about the financial settlement. During her speech in Florence, the British Prime Minister Theresa May committed the UK to regular contributions to the EU budget for two years after the UK’s exit, that is, during a transition period that has yet to be agreed with Brussels.
To underscore the pressure, on Friday morning Theresa May was told by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland that Dublin will not be authorizing trade talks before there is a commitment on the Irish border. Varadkar made clear that it is the UK that need to make negotiations, making clear that the Republic is not willing to accept a hard border in Northern Ireland and he demands a written commitment to that effect.
The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, was told on Friday by his Irish counterpart, Simon Coveney that the border “impasse” needed to be resolved before Dublin authorizes trade talks.
During an interview with the BBC on Friday, David Davies said that the EU must compromise and address trade before any commitment is made on money. He added that the UK has made most of the compromises in this negotiation. On Thursday, Davis urged a group of business leaders in Berlin to exert their influence for the opening of trade talks.