UK spurns EU’s €47.5 billion estimate for post-Brexit tab
The UK government said it doesn’t accept the European Union’s assessment that London owes the bloc €47.5 billion as part of the Brexit settlement, a higher figure than the UK had originally estimated.
“We don’t recognise that figure,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman Jamie Davies told reporters on Friday. The U.K.’s “estimate remains in the central range of 35 to 39 billion” pounds (€40.8 to €45.5 billion), he said, and full details will be published in parliament shortly.
The EU assessment, which was published in a budget document, is aimed at accounting for the UK’s ongoing commitments to EU programmes it’s still benefiting from, as well as other obligations to the bloc. The bulk of funds are due to the EU in the coming years.
The accounting seems likely to trigger new discussions with the UK, which estimated in 2018 that the total bill would amount to €41.4 billion.
Asked whether that meant the UK would refuse to pay the €47.5 billion bill, Davies repeated: “We don’t recognise that figure.”
An EU spokesperson said Friday that the estimate is final and the bloc has received no indication the amount will be contested. The spokesperson added that the British government has already paid the first instalment of its bill for this year.
The EU said that for 2021, the UK payment should total €6.8 billion, with the rest to be paid later. Some payments to the EU could continue for liabilities such as the pensions of officials for several decades, the UK government has acknowledged.
The two sides continue to bicker over a number of issues related to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Late last month, officials postponed for thee months a clash over British companies selling chilled meats to Northern Ireland as they continue to negotiate new trade rules for the region.
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