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- Theresa May has privately assured European Union leaders that Britain will pay for current and future liabilities amounting to about €40 billion, or $47 billion.
- The UK has not formally made this offer in negotiations.
- As a result, the EU Council is expected to announce on Friday that Brexit trade talks will be delayed until the end of the year.
- May is under pressure from Conservative MPs to walk out of talks.
LONDON — Theresa May has privately agreed to double Britain's Brexit divorce bill in an attempt to progress talks that have stalled over Britain's financial contribution to the European Union.
May has already agreed to pay Britain's full contributions to the latest budget round, amounting to some €20 billion, or $24 billion.
That figure, however, was dismissed this week by the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, as "peanuts," with Germany and other countries refusing to allow talks on a future trade deal to start until Britain signalled it would agree to pay at least double the amount.
Though the UK has made no official commitment to pay the extra money, the prime minister has reportedly privately assured EU leaders that Britain will ultimately agree to pay up once talks progress onto trade.
According to The Times, May told a select group of EU leaders that she was prepared to pay an additional sum of about €20 billion to cover commitments which will stretch into future budget rounds.
EU leaders have been frustrated that May has so far refused to officially table this offer. As a result, the European Council is expected to announce later Friday that it is not willing to move on to the next phase of Brexit talks, on trade and Britain's future relationship with the EU.
The prime minister has reportedly urged her EU partners to understand the political difficulty she would face in publicly accepting a larger figure before talks on trade have even begun.
May is under pressure from Conservative MPs to threaten to walk out of talks and leave the EU without any deal at all.
Brexit Secretary David Davis will next week set out the government's contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit to the Cabinet.
The prime minister on Friday morning is set to meet with the European Council's president, Donald Tusk, before attending a breakfast session with the council. After May leaves, the council will then discuss whether the next phase of Brexit talks should be delayed until the end of the year.
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