Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and European Union are in “deadlock” over how much money Britain will pay as it exits the bloc.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, told a press conference in Brussels on Thursday the impasse was “disturbing”.
Following the fifth round of talks, he said Brussels was not yet prepared to move onto the second stage of the talks which would deal with the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU.
Barnier said he believed “decisive progress is within in our grasp within the next two months”.
The sum of money the UK will pay to meet financial commitments it made while still a member has been one of the main stumbling blocks in the negotiations.
Brussels has refused to talk about a future trade deal until an agreement is reached on the financial settlement, the status of the Northern Ireland border and the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.
Barnier said: “We need to break the deadlock then we can make progress on other matters.
And he said the EU was not prepared to make “concessions” on those three areas.
“We are not asking the British to make concessions. The agreement we are working on will not be built on concessions,” he said.
“There’s no question of making concessions on citizens rights, there’s no question of making concessions on the peace process in Ireland, and as regards to the financial settlement, there’s no question of making concessions on thousands of projects throughout Europe.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis insisted “significant progress” had been made in the talks since June.
Speaking alongside Barnier, he said the UK wanted the talks to be conducted in the “spirit of cooperation”.
But he said the UK and EU “must talk about the future” to reassure businesses on both sides.