- Reuters/Francois Lenoir
- Theresa May is willing to double Britain’s financial offer to break “deadlock” in Brexit talks.
- The PM will soon offer up to £40 billion to the EU, according to reports.
- Brussels source tells Business Insider the EU was shocked May did not make an offer months ago.
LONDON – Senior European Union figures believe that Theresa May is on the brink of making a significantly-increased financial offer in order to move Brexit negotiations on to the next phase.
Figures in Brussels have told the Times that they have sensed a shift in tone from UK government and expect an offer on the financial settlement that comes much closer to the EU’s estimation of what Britain owes.
The prime minister is preparing to offer a bill of up to £40 billion (around €45 billion), according to some reports. This would be double the £20 billion she reportedly had been willing to offer earlier this year.
Brexit negotiations between British and EU negotiators have been in deadlock over a lack of “sufficient progress” over citizens’ rights, the Irish border, and the amount of money Britain must pay on its way out of the bloc.
The EU has insisted that talks cannot move onto future relations, including a transition deal, until it is satisfied that “sufficient progress” has been reached on these issues.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned Britain last week that it had just two weeks to make its position clear on the so-called divorce bill to have any chance of talks moving onto future relations this year.
A former senior EU official told Business Insider that figures in Brussels expected the British side to make a formal proposal on the so-called divorce bill immediately following Prime Minister’s May Florence warmly-received speech in September, and were shocked when a proposal did not follow.
However, May now looks set to make a sizable financial offer before EU leaders meet on December 14.
The prime minister met with prominent MEP Manfred Weber at Downing Street to discuss Brexit yesterday.
The ally of Angela Merkel had told journalists earlier this week that there was little chance of talks moving onto the next phase before New Year but claimed he was “more optimistic” after his meeting with May.
“There is progress and a will to see progress. The atmosphere is positive but we need clear and concrete commitments to step into the second phase. For now the green light is not there,” the German MEP said.
“I see the will to talk about the issues. I don’t want to comment on what she told me in the private dialogue. But it is clear there are points on the table.”