Pay up, Boris! ‘Sour’ Brussels orders UK to cough up £25billion Brexit divorce bill costs

PMQs: Boris Johnson slams Keir Starmer over Brexit stance

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UK and EU officials on the Specialised Committee on Financial Provisions held talks regarding implementation of Part Five of the Withdrawal Agreement which concerns payments to the bloc by the UK after the end of the transition period. Under the agreement, the UK is required to settle its financing of all the obligations or liabilities undertaken while it was a member of the EU.

The Office of Budget (OBR) responsibility there is £25billion left to pay by 2057 as of January 2021, of almost £18billion of which will be paid in the first five years.

A large part of the bill is the UK’s remaining EU budget contributions.

The OBR estimated that the majority of this will be paid by 2023/24 with relatively small amounts paid up until 2064.

During the meeting which took place this week, the UK agreed with the EU to make their next payment of the UK’s net liabilities under the Withdrawal Agreement on 30 June 2021.


Following this, the UK will pay back their bills in four-monthly instalments.

However, the European Commission will submit letters to the UK twice a year until their debts are paid back in full.

A joint UK Government and EU Commission statement, added: “The European Commission will submit the payment communications to the UK twice annually, in April and September, until outstanding net liabilities are extinguished.

“The EU and UK sides reaffirmed their commitment to complying with their legal obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement.

“The two sides committed to continue working collaboratively on a range of implementation issues, in recognition of the mutual benefit of smooth implementation of the financial provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

This afternoon, UK officials close to the initial Brexit negotiations told they would “honour” the obligations under the deal.

But they stressed the payment communications message seemed like “a mild form of badgering”.

One added to this publication: “We’re aware we owe the EU financially but the tone from Brussels appears very sour.

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“It feels like the EU is a more dominant force when it comes to leaving the bloc from these talks, but that’s certainly not the case.”

The talks come as relations between Brussels and London became strained over the way the earlier Brexit divorce deal is being implemented in Northern Ireland.

The European Union’s top official warned that the Brexit trade deal has “real teeth” and Brussels will not hesitate to take action if UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson breaches its terms.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she hopes the EU will not have to use the measures contained within the agreement as the European Parliament voted on the Brexit deal.

The ratification was one of a few remaining formalities which need to be completed before the deal struck by Mr Johnson and the EU on Christmas Eve last year is finally implemented.

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