Amid Brexit Satellite Row, UK Government Will Demand £1B Back From EU

Photo by Duncan Hull from Flickr

The government of the United Kingdom is set to insist that the European Union repays around £1bn if the nation is locked out of the Galileo satellite navigation system post-Brexit.

The possibility of clawing back funds that were invested in the project is included in a document that is scheduled to be published by the Brexit department of David Davis.

It is aimed to increase the pressure on the European Union to give the United Kingdom full access to the system, which has also become one of the major disputes in the Brexit talks.

Michel Barnier, the EU chief Brexit negotiator, has said that the bloc has no choice but to limit the access of the UK since it cannot share sensitive data with third countries.

That could see Britain locked out of the encrypted signal that is vital for military use.

British companies are also set to be excluded from bidding for work on the said project and a ground control centre is set to be relocated out of the UK.

In a paper that was published today, the government says that its exclusion from Galileo violates the Brexit deal that was done last December and would restrict security cooperation.

The paper says: “Current EU restrictions on UK participation will have implications for the ceiling placed on future UK-EU security cooperation.”

The paper also warns that the EU would be left with additional costs and delays for the project without the United Kingdom.

According to the Times, France is among half a dozen countries in the European Union that are eager for the UK to maintain full access to the system.

Today, however, the paper reports that a “German clique” that is led by Martin Selmayr, the European Commission General Secretary, is taking a hard line on the exclusion of the UK.

Today, the story started a furious row regarding the issue in the European Parliament.

Diane James, the Brexiteer MEP, said that she thought that it was “absolutely bizarre” that the European Union would do something to undermine security cooperation.

However, Richard Corbett, the leader in the European Parliament of the Labour party, said that the UK had voted for the rules which prohibited third countries for full access to the system.

He stated: “Far from the EU being the one throwing Britain out, it’s the British government that has taken the decision to leave,”

As a response to James, Ana Gomes, a Portuguese socialist MEP, stated: It really was a treat to see a Brexiteer actually regretting that the UK had excluded itself from Galileo and much more.”