Brexit: EU demands Britain pay divorce bill in euros not pounds

Leaked document reveals a tougher stance from the EU, which has already said Britain might have to pay 60 billion euros as a condition of exiting the bloc 

Charlotte England
Friday 21 April 2017 15:34
Comments
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, greets The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, greets The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk

Britain must settle its Brexit divorce bill in euros rather than pounds, the European Union has said.

Leaked documents suggest the EU has toughened its stance in recent weeks, diminishing Britain's hopes of striking a trade agreement before leaving the bloc.

"An orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union requires settling the financial obligations undertaken before the withdrawal date," said a European Commission document seen by media organisations including AFP and Politico.

"The agreement should define the precise way in which these obligations will be calculated ... the obligations should be defined in euro," it added.

The document did not say how much the Brexit settlement might be but EU officials have previously put the figure at around 60 billion euros, while London puts the figure nearer 20 billion.

Forcing the country to pay liabilities in euros leaves Britain at the mercy of the currency markets at a time when the pound is particularly weak.

The leaked document, titled "Non Paper on key elements likely to feature in the draft negotiating directives", was drawn up for the European Commission which will conduct Brexit negotiations with Britain.

It covers in more detail the same ground outlined last month by EU president Donald Tusk in the European Council’s draft guidelines, which offered an indication of the bloc’s opening stance last month, in response to Prime Minister Theresa May's official 29 March notification that Britain was leaving the union.

Back in March, Mr Tusk stressed the EU will insist on agreeing the future of citizens in Britain and the Brexit bill first before considering London's demand for a free trade pact.

The Commission document reiterated that the EU plans to push for its citizens in Britain to enjoy their current rights for their whole lifetimes without a "cut off date", and for this to be enforced by the European court of justice.

The Commission wants a reciprocal deal for EU citizens in the UK and Brits elsewhere in the bloc.

The Brexit divorce settlement should not just be limited to workers, the paper said, and should also apply to family members who join citizens "at any point in time before/after the withdrawal date".

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in