With negotiations between the UK and EU likely to formally begin on June 19, Bloomberg reports that Brexit Secretary David Davis has pre-emptively lashed out at EU officials, threatening that “The UK will quit talks on leaving the European Union unless the bloc drops its demands for a divorce payment as high as EUR100bn.”
Britain’s negotiations would otherwise be plunged into “chaos,” and even a 1 billion-pound settlement would be “a lot of money,” Davis said in an interview published in the Sunday Times.
Bloomberg reports the size of Britain’s exit bill, and which types of negotiations can begin before it has been agreed, has been a source of debate for weeks.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the U.K. will have to pay about 50 billion pounds, while Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has signaled a figure between 40 billion euros and 60 billion euros.
The Financial Times estimated the cost could balloon to 100 billion euros, while a study by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales put the cost at as low as 5 billion pounds ($6.5 billion).
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has said it will meet its commitments to the EU, but has questioned how Brussels officials reached their preliminary estimates… especially the oddly round number of 100-billion-euros…
“We don’t need to just look like we can walk away, we need to be able to walk away…Under the circumstances, if that was necessary, we would be in a position to do it.”
May also weighed in on the Brexit bill, saying in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph that “money paid in the past” by the U.K. into joint EU projects and the European Investment Bank ought to be taken account in the final sum.
“There is much debate about what the U.K.’s obligations might be or indeed what our rights might be,” she said.
“We make it clear that we would look at those both rights and obligations.”