Jean-Claude Juncker blasts UK Brexit stance as '˜unsatisfactory'

The EU Commission president has dismissed the UK's preparation for Brexit talks as '˜unsatisfactory' as a war of words intensified at the start of the latest round of negotiations.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Jean-Claude Juncker warned the UK Government that it had to set out its position on a financial settlement with the EU after publishing flurry of position papers on other issues.

EU government have agreed that talks cannot move on to vital trade talks and a post-Brexit transition phase until agreement is reached on the so-called ‘divorce bill’ as well as the status of the Irish border and citizens’ rights.

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Yesterday EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he was “concerned” at the lack of progress on those issues ahead of an October deadline. UK sources responded by calling his comments “ill-judged and unhelpful”.

Today the Scotsman revealed how major financial services firms were ready to act on plans to move operations overseas unless the terms of a post-Brexit transition out of the EU single market is clear by the end of this year.

In a speech to EU Ambassadors, Mr Juncker said: “I would like to be clear that I did read with the requisite attention all the papers produced by the British government and none of those is satisfactory, so there are an enormous amount of issues that need to be settled.

“We need to be crystal clear that we will commence no negotiations on the new economic and trade relationship between the UK and the EU before all these questions are resolved,” he said. “That is the divorce between the EU and the UK. We cannot mix these issues up.

“First of all we settle the past before we look forward to the future.”

With the UK government so far refusing to publish a position paper on a Brexit financial settlement, British negotiators are expected to present EU counterparts with legal arguments querying European demands, which are reported to be as high as £80 billion.

Negotiations will move on to the issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic on Wednesday.