Brussels is facing a potential funding blackhole when the UK finally exits the EU and Britain is likely to be landed with a large bill when the terms of the divorce are finalised.
Although an exact amount has not been announced, the European Commission’s chief negotiator, Michael Barnier, is reported to be working on the basis the UK would pay a fee of £42-£50 billion for its outstanding liabilities.
On Thursday, French Liberal MEP, Sylvie Goulard, claimed it was the “responsibility” of the remaining 27 states to ensure Britain paid the staggering figure.
Sylvie Goulard MEP warned Britain would be forced to pay billions before it could leave the EU
We will make sure that a country that is leaving the EU first of all is paying the bill
Sylvie Goulard MEP
Britain’s exit bill is believed to include the UK’s obligation to pay into the Brussels pot until the end of 2020, as the Government has already signed up to the multi-annual financial framework.
The sum will also include Britain’s share of outstanding pension liabilities along with payments associated with loan guarantees.
The French politician said it was the responsibility of the EU to make sure the bill was paid
The French MEP, who sits on the economic and monetary affairs committee, said other EU nations must not be punished for the UK’s decision to quit the union.
“Britain must not get a better deal than the members who stay fully committed – otherwise this is not punishment,” she continued.
“If you are a member of a club, you have rights, you have duties, if you are not members of the club then you do not have the duties but you don’t have the rights – so I hope we can be fair.”
Theresa May warned EU members she would be willing to walk away from the negotiating table
Theresa May has warned Brussels she will walk out of the impending negotiations if EU leaders try to punish Britain.
In her historic speech outlining the course for a truly independent nation, the prime minister spelled out the UK will break ties with the bloc whatever happens around the negotiating table.
With the bill expected to be at the top of the agenda when Article 50 is triggered ahead of Brexit, Ms Goulard believes Britain will end up paying the billions of pounds.
“No one has said on the continent that we might have no deal at all,” she said.
“And I cannot imagine for one second that as a great nation as the UK is going to leave without paying for the bill.
“No deal will mean that the UK is not taking responsibility for the liabilities and commitments of the last 40 years.
“We will invent a new relationship once we have settled the conditions."