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Britain to submit Brexit bill proposal before December EU meeting

Staff Writer |
Britain will submit proposals on how to settle its divorce bill with the European Union before an EU summit next month and is expected to negotiate hard, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday.

The EU told Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday that there was more work to be done to unlock the Brexit talks, repeating its early December deadline for her to flesh out Britain's opening offer on the financial settlement.

"We will make our proposals to the European Union in time for the Council," Hammond told the BBC, referring to the December 14-15 meeting of EU heads of government.

He was speaking three days before he sets out Britain's budget plan, where he will have to find room within tight fiscal constraints to help May convince voters that the Conservative government is tackling Britain's domestic problems at the same time as negotiating its exit from the EU.

Last week, May met fellow EU leaders to try to break a deadlock over how much Britain will pay on leaving the bloc, an issue threatening to derail British hopes for a negotiated exit and an agreement on a new trading relationship by March 2019.

May has signalled she would increase an initial offer that is estimated at some 20 billion euros ($24 billion) - about a third of what Brussels wants.

But Hammond, who has been criticised by supporters of Brexit for being too conciliatory towards Brussels and lobbying for a "softer" exit, said Britain would take a tough stance about how much it owes.

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