Germany seeking early U.K. brexit to pay its EU bill

A key German priority when Brexit talks get under way is locking in an early commitment by the U.K. to pay its European Union bills, two people familiar with the government’s strategy said.

While the exact amount owed by the U.K. can be agreed later, Germany wants Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to acknowledge at the start that it can’t dodge what it owes, according to the people, who asked not be identified discussing private deliberations.

With the European Commission tallying U.K. obligations of as much as $65 billion (£ 52.34 billion), the struggle over funding is shaping up as the first test of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s balancing act: rallying the EU behind a common purpose without Britain, while minimizing the risk of Germany’s second-biggest European trading partner walking out of the talks.

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