June 19, 2017 / 5:44 PM / in 4 months

Britain still questions Brexit payment idea: EU official

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain has not agreed to make any financial settlement to the European Union to cover outstanding obligations when it leaves, a senior EU official said after the first day of negotiations between London and the EU.

A man arrives for work at the EU headquarters as Britain and the EU launch Brexit talks in Brussels, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

“They question that there is a legal basis for an exit payment,” the EU official said.

He was referring to a potential bill which the Union puts at tens of billions of euros, partly to cover a share of future EU budget commitments made while Britain was a member. Britain has so far rejected that such a payment is justified and some ministers have suggested that the EU may owe London instead.

EU officials say narrowing differences over the payment, for which both sides agreed on Monday to set up a working group of negotiators, will be a major test for the forthcoming talks.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alastair Macdonald

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