September 5, 2017 / 4:45 PM / 10 months ago

Brexit bill row to last the length of Brexit talks: UK minister

LONDON (Reuters) - A row over how much money Britain should pay the European Union when it leaves the bloc will probably go on for the full duration of the EU exit talks, Brexit minister David Davis said on Tuesday.

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis arrives at a cabinet meeting in Downing Street in London, September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The Brexit bill is a contentious issue both in Britain, where eurosceptics are keen to see as little money paid as possible, and in the EU, which is demanding Britain meets its existing commitments to the bloc.

“My expectation is that the money argument will go on for the full duration of the negotiation,” he told parliament.

Britain, which began a two-year negotiating period in March, has said it is prepared to meet its international obligations and, last week, Davis said London was willing to offer more than the bare legal minimum.

The bill is one of three issues the EU is demanding progress on before it is willing to begin discussing Britain’s future relationship with the bloc - something London is keen to move on to as soon as possible.

But, Davis stressed that Britain would not be pressured into cutting a deal just to move talks to the next stage.

Davis said the two sides disagreed over the basis of the so-called Brexit bill, and that he did not expect them to fully resolve their differences.

“It is clear that the two sides have very different legal stances,” Davis told parliament during an update on the talks.

“(EU chief negotiator) Michel Barnier and I agreed that we do not anticipate making incremental progress on the final shape of the financial deal in every round ... it is also clear there are significant differences to be bridged in this sector.”

Davis also said that there was widespread agreement across the European Union about having an implementation period when Britain leaves the bloc, and that it would probably look to continue its relationship with the European Investment Bank.

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper

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