World Bulletin / News Desk
President Jean-Claude Juncker said the U.K. would have to pay the so-called Brexit divorce bill, which according to estimates, could reach up to 100 billion British pounds ($132 billion) -- before they could move negotiations to the next phase.
Juncker’s comments came a day after the chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said the Brexit negotiations had reached a “disturbing deadlock” over the financial commitments.
"The British are discovering, as we are, new problems every day. That is the reason why this process will take longer than we initially thought," Juncker said, speaking to a group of students in Luxembourg.
“We will not be able to say in the European Council in October that now we can move to the second phase of negotiations,” Juncker said.
"They have to pay...I'm not in a revenge mood. I do not hate the British," he added.
The U.K. had insisted Brexit negotiations had reached a point where sufficient progress had been made to take the talks to the second stage, where the future relationship between the U.K. and the EU could be discussed.
However, the EU leaders said upon the completion of the fourth round of negotiations last month, that the progress seen was not enough, but praised a speech by Prime Minister Theresa in Florence, describing it as a step forward.
British voters opted to leave the EU in a referendum over a year ago and Brexit negotiations are expected to be finalized in March 2019.
The issue of citizens' rights is one of the main issues to be dealt with during the negotiations, along with the land borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and Gibraltar and Spain.
Also, immigration control and access to the European single market will be discussed.