French president Macron says UK still ‘a long way off’ on Brexit bill

French president Macron says UK still 'a long way off' on Brexit bill
French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday warned London that agreement on the crucial issue of Britain's EU exit bill was still "a long way off".

“We are a long way off on the financial commitments,” he said after an EU summit that agreed to start internal work on the bloc's future relationship with Britain after Brexit.

UK PM Theresa May said on Friday that her government was going through the Brexit bill divorce “line by line”.

The fee for quitting the EU may involve the UK handing over many more billions than the €20bn (£17.9bn) of budget contributions promised so far by May's government.

May did not rule out that the divorce bill could even reach the €60 billion figure that has repeatedly been quoted on the EU side of the bargaining table.

“I’ve been very clear on where we are in relation to the financial settlement,” said the UK prime minister. “I’ve set out the reassurance to our European colleagues and we will go through that line by line in relation to the commitments that we’ve made in our membership. 

“And I’ve also said in the past, if there are particular programmes where we wish to continue to be a member then of course we would look at paying relevant costs in relation to that, programmes such as science and research, and perhaps some of the justice issues.”

French president Macron has previously said that Britain could yet have a place in the European Union when he set out proposals for ambitious reforms of the bloc.

Calling for a more effective, less bureaucratic EU in a speech in Paris last month Macron said: “In a few years, if they want, the United Kingdom could find its place… In this reformed and simplified EU that I'm proposing, I can't imagine that the United Kingdom could not find its place.”