Downing Street rejects claims the UK could face £50bn payment to EU in Brexit liabilities

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 16 December 2016 in News

Downing Street spokesperson says: “Negotiations have not begun and so that figure does not actually exist”

Theresa May - credit: PA

Downing Street has rejected claims the UK could be forced to make a £50bn payment to the EU to cover its liabilities as part of the Brexit process.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has suggested negotiations could see the UK could face exit payments totalling “tens of billions” every year up until 2020 to cover outstanding pensions liabilities, loan guarantees and spending on UK-based projects.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has previously argued the UK could face payments of €40-60bn for the next decade.


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But Theresa May’s spokesman rejected the £50bn figure, saying: “Negotiations have not begun and so that figure does not actually exist.”

He said: “As was set out last night by my colleagues in Brussels, that is one of a range of issues that will have to be dealt with. The outcome of those negotiations will be something for the future.”

The comments contradict those of Tomas Prouza, the Czech Republic’s Europe minister, the cash is simply “agreeing the bills that the UK has already agreed to pay”.

He told Sky News: “We’re talking about payments to the existing budget that the UK already voted for, pensions of British citizens working at the EU. This is only things the UK has already committed itself to paying.”

May’s spokesperson also confirmed the UK Government has been attempting to make progress on the issue of UK citizens living in the EU, with the PM ready to guarantees to EU citizens in the UK, in return for British citizens living in the EU being given the same protection.

The spokesperson said: “What happens in the negotiations is a matter for the negotiations. But we have made it very clear it is a matter we want to see resolved as soon as possible.”

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