U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is heading to Brussels to meet with senior European Union officials in hopes of reinvigorating stalled negotiations on Britain’s departure from the European Union.
May’s unexpected decision to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and chief negotiator Michel Barnier follows Barnier’s comment last week that the latest round of talks had ended in a “disturbing deadlock” over Britain’s financial obligations.
EU estimates suggest Britain’s divorce bill could range from 60 billion euros to 100 billion euros ($80 billion to $120 billion). Britain has rejected such figures.
EU leaders are demanding progress on the divorce bill, the rights of citizens hit by Brexit and the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland before talks can move on to issues such as future trading arrangements.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is urging the European Union to speed up Brexit talks and start discussing now their future relationship after the U.K leaves in 2019.
Johnson said in Luxembourg on Monday: “Let’s get these conversations going and stop letting the grass grow under our feet.”
He said it’s time for “the great ship to go down the slipway and onto the open sea and for us to start some serious conversations about the future and the new relationship.”
Johnson’s remarks came ahead of a Monday dinner meeting between Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and top Brexit negotiators.
EU leaders are expected this week to rule that not enough progress has been made for the negotiations to be expanded to include future relations and trade.