Bri­tain set to pay R633 bil­lion to leave EU

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LON­DON: Bri­tain is pre­pared to pay up to €40 bil­lion (R633bn) as part of a deal to leave the EU, the Sun­day Tele­graph news­pa­per re­ported, cit­ing three un­named sources fa­mil­iar with Bri­tain’s ne­go­ti­at­ing strat­egy.

The EU has floated a fig­ure of €60bn and wants sig­nif­i­cant progress on set­tling Bri­tain’s li­a­bil­i­ties be­fore talks can start on com­plex is­sues such as post-Brexit trad­ing ar­range­ments.

The gov­ern­ment depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for Brexit talks de­clined to com­ment on the Sun­day Tele­graph ar­ti­cle. So far, Bri­tain has given no of­fi­cial in­di­ca­tion of how much it would be will­ing to pay.

The news­pa­per said Bri­tish of­fi­cials were likely to of­fer to pay €10bn a year for three years after leav­ing the EU in March 2019, then fi­nalise the to­tal along­side de­tailed trade talks.

Pay­ments would only be made as part of a deal that in­cluded a trade agree­ment, the news­pa­per added.

“We know (the EU’s) po­si­tion is €60bn, but the ac­tual bot­tom line is €50bn. Ours is closer to €30bn but the ac­tual land­ing zone is €40bn, even if the pub­lic and politi­cians are not all there yet,” the news­pa­per quoted one “se­nior White­hall source” as say­ing.

A sec­ond source said Bri­tain’s bot­tom line was “€30bn to €40bn” and a third source said Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May was will­ing to pay “north of €30bn”, the Sun­day Tele­graph re­ported.

David Davis, the Bri­tish min­is­ter in charge of Brexit talks, said on July 20 that Bri­tain would hon­our its obli­ga­tions to the EU but de­clined to con­firm that Brexit would re­quire net pay­ments.

Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son, a lead­ing Brexit ad­vo­cate, said last month the EU could “go whis­tle” if it made “ex­tor­tion­ate” de­mands for pay­ment.

The EU also wants an agree­ment by Oc­to­ber on the rights of EU cit­i­zens al­ready in Bri­tain and on bor­der con­trols be­tween the Ir­ish Repub­lic and the Bri­tish prov­ince of North­ern Ire­land.

This would be be­fore trade and other is­sues are dis­cussed.

PIC­TURE: AP

A new sky­scraper, The Westhafen Tower, in Frank­furt, Ger­many, of­fers more rel­a­tively cheap of­fice space in the city, which is among the Euro­pean cen­tres bid­ding to host EU bank­ing and medicines bod­ies that are cur­rently based in Lon­don but need to find new homes be­fore Brexit in March 2019.

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