EU seeks £90bn Brexit bill deal before trade talks begin

Britain is being asked to continue funding the EU's foreign aid programme after Brexit, it emerged last night.

The EU's demand for a £90billion 'divorce bill' was branded 'absurd' as details of the claim emerged at a press conference in Brussels.

Its chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there had been 'no decisive progress' at the third round of Brexit talks this week.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, right, criticised the progress of the Brexit talks after the British team described attempts by Brussels to charge the UK £90 billion as 'absurd

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, right, criticised the progress of the Brexit talks after the British team described attempts by Brussels to charge the UK £90 billion as 'absurd

David Davis, pictured, clashed repeatedly with the EU team over the divorce settlement 

David Davis, pictured, clashed repeatedly with the EU team over the divorce settlement 

Mr Barnier, right, accused Britain of wanting a nostalgic deal with the European Union 

Mr Barnier, right, accused Britain of wanting a nostalgic deal with the European Union 

He then revealed some of the EU's financial demands, including that funding for foreign aid, green projects and refugee programmes continues after Britain has left. It also emerged the UK could be asked to keep paying into the EU's coffers during any 'transitional deal'.

Mr Barnier suggested he would try to block progress on a new EU-UK trade deal unless Britain agrees to meet the demands.

But Brexit Secretary David Davis, who clashed repeatedly with Mr Barnier during the press conference, made it clear the UK did not accept the EU's claim, saying: 'We have a duty to our taxpayers to interrogate it rigorously.'

He rebuked Mr Barnier for suggesting British Brexit demands were driven by 'nostalgia' for EU membership, saying: 'I wouldn't confuse a belief in the free market for nostalgia.'

YUK! TONY BLAIR SCHMOOZES HIS EUROPEAN PALS  

Puckering up, Tony Blair staged something of a ‘love in’ yesterday as he greeted Jean-Claude Juncker with a kiss.

The Europhile former Prime minister greeted the European Commission president like an old friend at a Brussels lunch.

Tony Blair was welcomed by European Commission president Jean Claude Junker to Brussels yesterday morning

Tony Blair was welcomed by European Commission president Jean Claude Junker to Brussels yesterday morning

However, the timing of the meeting seemed designed to upstage a distinctly frosty press conference between Brexit Secretary David Davis and his counterpart Michel Barnier – which was taking place in the same building.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson went for a spin on a Royal Navy rigid inflatable boat

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson went for a spin on a Royal Navy rigid inflatable boat

Over in Nigeria, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appeared to be puckering up too – but was merely being buffeted by wind as he helped pilot a rib with the Royal Navy. A unit based in Lagos is training the Nigerian navy to tackle the threat of pirates.

The apparent deadlock will increase pressure on Theresa May to appeal directly to German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron to begin trade talks in defiance of Brussels. But Mr Barnier issued a stern warning that any attempts to go over the commission's head on the issue would fail.

He struggled to contain his fury that the UK had produced a legal analysis rejecting the basis for the EU's financial claim – and threatened to delay discussions of a future trading relationship unless Britain agrees to pay for a number of schemes. It follows four days of negotiations that brought little progress – Brussels is demanding concessions on the divorce bill so that trade talks can begin, but Mr Davis blamed the bloc's inflexibility for the deadlock.

Mr Barnier also warned that the UK's request for access to the single market without accepting the supremacy of the European Court of Justice was 'impossible'.

He criticised Britain's plan to have EU standards cut and pasted into UK law and be automatically recognised by the EU. 'You cannot be outside the single market and shape its legal order,' he said.

Mr Davis responded: 'We have proposed pragmatic solutions to prevent this disruption and we urge the EU to be more imaginative and flexible in their approach to withdrawal on this point.'

On the divorce bill, Mr Barnier said it 'wouldn't be fair' for Britain not to pay for ongoing commitments undertaken with other members. 'In July, the UK recognised it has obligations beyond the Brexit date but this week the UK explained it felt its obligations were limited to the last payment of the current EU budget,' he added.

The EU negotiator listed commitments he claimed Britain had agreed to that extend beyond the end of

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