A final Brexit bill amount has been agreed to, a senior EU official has told Reuters.
Recent coverage focused on a deal having already been reached but EU officials stressed that talks were ongoing.
The final amount the UK will pay has been a point of contention since the country voted to leave the EU in 2016. Hardline “no deal” Brexiteers have been vocal in their opposition to any money being paid at all.
However, the UK has financial commitments to the union that extend to 2020. The EU has been insistent on settling the Brexit bill before talks can move onto a future relationship.
EU negotiators are said be “optimistic” about the Brexit bill, and that a “certain formula” on how to calculate the UK’s payment should be made has been approved.
“All in all, they are ready to pay a suitable, fair price for moving on to the second phase. This is what they want,” the official stated, signalling that Theresa May’s desire to convince the EU that the UK was willing to make concessions was working.
The British Prime Minister had previously offered to pay up until 2020 so that no other member would have to shore up a hole in the current budget.
The Brexit bill is designed to cover existing commitments rather than future trading arrangements or Europol cooperation.
Brexit talks are divided into two phases – the first dealing with the Brexit bill, ECJ authority over any transition period, EU citizens’ rights, and the border with Ireland. Last week the UK offered a £50bn Brexit bill with sharp criticism from hard-line Brexiteers, in an attempt to clear the first stage of talks.
The UK government is keen to move on to the next phase, aiming to secure a crucial free trade deal. With time running out, there is a greater urgency to settle the Brexit bill. European Council President Donald Tusk previously gave the UK until December 4 to come up with a financial settlement, as well as a detailed plan for the Irish border.