May says Brexit bill must wait until final deal with EU

File: Britain Prime minister Theresa May said on Monday her government was working "extremely hard" to save a deal.

File: Britain Prime minister Theresa May said on Monday her government was working "extremely hard" to save a deal.


BRUSSELS - Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday said Britain would only agree a detailed financial settlement for Brexit once its future relationship with the EU was agreed.

"The full and final settlement will come as part of the final agreement that we&39;re getting in relation to the future partnership," she told reporters at a Brussels summit.

"I think that&39;s absolutely right... I think that can only be done in that particular context."

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She spoke as EU leaders agreed to begin preparations for the next stage of Brexit talks on trade and a transition, even if they said there had not been enough progress on the divorce terms to formally move forward.

Britain&39;s financial obligations to the bloc when it leaves in March 2019 is one of the main sticking points.

"I have said that nobody need be concerned for the current budget plan, that they will either have to pay in more or receive less as a result of the UK leaving, and we will honour the commitments we have made during our membership," May said.

"There has to be detailed work on those commitments. We&39;re going through them line by line and will continue to go through them line by line. The British taxpayer wouldn&39;t expect its government to do anything else."

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In a speech in Florence last month, May promised to maintain Britain&39;s contributions for two years to complete the current EU budget period, totalling around 20 billion euros (R320-billion).

But this falls short of the EU&39;s estimate of the bill, which European Parliament chief Antonio Tajani said this week was closer to 50 or 60 billion euros.

"I&39;ve also said in the past that if there are particular projects or programmes that we wish to continue to be a member of then of course we would look at paying relevant costs in relation to that," May added.