The U.K. acknowledged for the first time in writing that it will have to pay money to the European Union when it withdraws from the bloc, seeking to damp down a row over the country’s so-called Brexit bill.
“We will work with the EU to determine a fair settlement of the U.K.’s rights and obligations as a departing member state,” Brexit Secretary David Davis said in a statement to Parliament that referred explicitly to the “financial settlement” with the EU. “The government recognizes that the U.K. has obligations to the EU, and the EU obligations to the U.K., that will survive the U.K.’s withdrawal — and that these need to be resolved.”
Prime Minister Theresa May needs to come to an accommodation with her EU counterparts on the payment, because it’s one of three areas, alongside citizens’ rights and the border with Ireland, where the bloc is demanding “sufficient progress” before talks can move on to trade.
he statement on the bill contrasted with the more bellicose tone used by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson this week. Answering questions in Parliament, he agreed with euro- skeptic Tory lawmaker Philip Hollobone who suggested the foreign secretary should “make it clear to the EU that if it wants a penny piece more” from Britain as part of the Brexit settlement, “it can go whistle.”
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said in response that “I am not hearing any whistling, just a clock ticking" down to Britain’s March 2019 withdrawal.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said on April 29 that the sum would be between 40 billion euros and 60 billion euros. EU negotiator Michel Barnier hasn’t publicly endorsed a number and argued he is only asking the U.K. to cover financial commitments it made as member of a bloc, which may extend beyond 2019.
Source: Bloomberg Pro Terminal
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