Downing Street refuses, UK willing to pay €40bn Brexit divorce act

Advertisment

Downing Street has declined the plan of paying a Brexit divorce act of up to €40bn as supporters of leaving the European Union announced they would not allow handing over such a significant amount of money. Theresa May was said to be ready to pay this sum as the value for getting on with trade talks and an exit agreement.

The amount would be a bargain because Brussels has demanded about €60bn. The €40bn cost would still be the equivalent of many years of benefactions to the EU budget, which would remain to be settled after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019. A Downing Street reference, however, said the sum, which was mentioned by Brussels sources cited in the Sunday Telegraph, was “inaccurate speculation”, playing down the thought that such a huge bill would be adequate to the state or Brexit voters.

The issue of payments to the EU is an immense political dilemma for No. 10, partially because the Brexit campaign stated recovering £350m a week from Brussels to set towards the NHS.

Moreover, the EU will not advance to the next step of talks on the future connection until it considers that “sufficient progress” has been made on the fiscal adjustment.

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, ordered diplomats last month that the next level may be driven back to December because Britain is delaying on the bill.

Michel Barnier said, “One of the prime reasons the UK voted to leave the EU was to stop sending them billions of pounds per year, so it would be utterly bizarre to give the EU any money, let alone £36bn, also given that over the years that we have been in the EU or its predecessor we have given them, net, over £200bn.”

Barnier also noted, “I think it would be extraordinary of parliament to pay billions of pounds to leave an organisation that you have given hundreds of billions of pounds to and got nothing in return. That would be an extraordinary decision, so I do not think it would happen.”

The EU’s stand is that trade talks cannot start until significant and apparent improvement has been made on the financial agreement, citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland.

It was disclosed that the administration is intending to issue a series of papers on matters such as the customs union and Irish border in the following weeks, to set out its open position for the first time since May reported her consulting strategy at Lancaster House in January.