Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2019

Brexit latest: Does UK owe £39bn to EU in no deal? – readers deliver verdict | UK | News

Prime Minister ruffled feathers in Brussels last week ahead of the G7 summit in Biarritz – and a meeting with European Council president Donald Tusk – but suggesting Britain might not pay up. Mr Johnson said: “If we come out it is certainly true that the is no longer, strictly speaking, owed.”

Mr Johnson added: “There will be very substantial sums available to our country to spend on our priorities

“It’s not a threat, it’s a simple fact of reality.”

European Commission spokeswoman said: “All commitments that were taken by the 28 member states should be honoured.

“This is also and especially true in a no deal scenario where the United Kingdom would be expected to continue to honour all commitments made during EU membership.”

“Rather than going now into a judicial action threat, I think that it is important to make clear that settling accounts is essential to starting of a new relationship on the right foot, based on mutual trust.”

Nevertheless, readers who took part’s online poll agreed with Britain’s leader, with an eye-watering 11,954 of the 16,193 who voted – 74 percent – saying the UK should pay nothing.


One said: “We should pay NOTHING without an itemised bill taking into account our share in the various projects and infrastructure in Europe to which we have contributed.”

Another, referring to Brexit: Behind Closed Doors, a recent BBC4 documentary featuring European Parliament’s Brexit representative Guy Verhofstadt, asked: “Why are the EU still demanding £39bn then before considering a trade deal negotiation? It is an attempt at extortion, that’s all.

“The documentary exposed what the EU really think.”

A third added: “The EU should be paying the UK. We have been a net contributor ever since we were railroaded into the Common Market in the 1970s.

“What have we benefited from all those payments – answers can fit on the back of a postage stamp, three characters: NON.”

Some thought the UK might be expected to pay significantly less than the oft-quoted £39billion figure, with one reader arguing: “Without seeing the accounts I don’t know but £7-9BN sounds a reasonable MAXIMUM figure. Why we should pay the other £30bn to get a trade deal eludes me.

“A trade deal is just that, a mutually acceptable arrangement which benefits both parties – why should either party pay money to the other up-front?”

However, others suggested the UK ought to pay the money.

One said: “Reason for that is that the EU did not ask you to pay 39 bn but to pay for all committed funds.

“You had been part of a lot of decisions and the EU hold you to those commitments. The figure will be known exactly in the end.

“You have to fulfil your obligations. What would you say if the EU go to your debtors and ask them if they are willing to pay for their dues? Complete and utter nonsense.”

The poll was started on August 26 and closed on August 27.

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