Brussels: EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier denied Thursday that the bloc's financial demands from Britain for leaving were "punishment" but warned against the "illusion" that Brexit would be painless.
Barnier, who was unveiling his negotiating plans for two years of talks with Britain, also urged London to start talks as soon as possible and said that "the clock is ticking".
"There is no punishment, there is no Brexit bill, the financial settlement is only about settling the accounts," Barnier told a news conference.
He was speaking after London rejected a report that Brussels could seek 100 billion euros from London as the price of meeting financial commitments from its four-decade membership.
Barnier, a former European Commissioner and French government minister, said there was no set sum but that it would be calculated using a "methodology".
But amid a row with London over reports of a disastrous dinner between British Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Barnier last week, Barnier said London should not believe Brexit would be easy.
"Some have created the illusion that Brexit will have no material impact on our lives or that negotiations can be concluded quickly," he said.