Ministers agree to double Brexit divorce offer to €40bn

Sean Farrell WebFG News | 21 Nov, 2017 11:44 - Updated: 11:51 | | |

donald tusk theresa may
Theresa May with EU Council leader Donald TuskConsejo Europeo

Senior ministers have backed Theresa May's plan to double Britain's offer of payment to leave the EU to €40bn, reports said.

The cabinet's Brexit sub-committee met on Monday to agree a strategy to unlock stalled talks between the UK and European officials.

Ministers agreed the government should indicate it will pay the EU €40bn, ITV reported. The revised figure is double the UK's previous offer but well short of at least €60bn the EU says is owed to cover commitments and future liabilities.

Pro-Brexit ministers agreed to the revised offer subject to Britain securing a transition deal for Brexit and a beneficial trade deal. Officials plan to make the formal offer on 8 December to leave the EU just enough time to prepare a positive response at the European council in Brussels on 14-15 December, the Financial Times said.

But Brexit supporters remain wary that an improved offer may not be matched by concessions from the EU. A minister told the FT: "There is consensus behind the prime minister's position – for now."

May is seeking assurances from EU leaders that her move on the divorce bill will get a good reception before making a firm offer. The EU has said it will not discuss a transition deal for Britain's departure or a trade agreement until divorce terms are settled.

The government has also agreed to allow the European Court of Justice a continued role in protecting the rights of 3m EU citizens living in Britain.

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