Britain set to pay R633 billion to leave EU
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.
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.