European Union president Juncker says Brexit will take longer than initially thought

Your round Jean Claude Juncker says it's time for Britain to pay to leave the EU
Credit EPA

Your round Jean Claude Juncker says it's time for Britain to pay to leave the EU Credit EPA

Mr Juncker was speaking after the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said talks had reached deadlock as the United Kingdom was not prepared to indicate how much it was willing to pay in the divorce bill.

The European Commission president's warning comes as the EU's 27 leaders prepare next week to begin internal discussions, without Britain, on trade after Brexit. "That's why this process will take longer than initially thought", Juncker said in a speech at a university in his native Luxembourg.

However, with the European Union and Britain currently in stalemate, and both parties unable to find "a real compromise as far as the remaining financial commitments of the United Kingdom are concerned", Juncker said, the original deadline now seems out of reach.

"The British are discovering, as we are, new problems every day".

"As we are not able to do this we will not be able to say in the European Council in October that now we can move to the second phase of negotiations".

When Theresa May triggered Article 50 in March this year, she kicked off what should be a two-year process.

"If you are sitting in a bar and if you are ordering 28 beers and then suddenly some of your colleagues is leaving. that's not feasible, they have to pay, they have to pay", Juncker said. I'm not in a revenge mood. "I do not hate the British", he added.

The EU says Britain has to make sufficient progress on three divorce issues - the bill, the rights of EU citizens in Britain, and Northern Ireland - before opening the trade negotiations London wants. The next possible point "sufficient progress" could be judged is in December, when the next European Council meeting is set to take place.