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EU Accuses UK of Backtracking: UK MPs Threaten to Block Divorce Payments

Courtesy of Mish.

Brexit negotiations hit the rocks with the size of the Brexit divorce bill the key issue.

The Independent reports: Britain is ‘backtracking’ on its Brexit divorce bill commitments, moans Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator warns.

My response: Hooray for the UK!

Michel Barnier said he was “disappointed” by the UK position and publicly warned the British team it should go back to the drawing board after it presented a legal analysis arguing that Britain owed far less than the Commission believed.

“So there’s a moral dilemma here: you can’t have 27 paying for what was decided by 28, so what was decided by 28 member states, that has to be borne out by 28 member states right up to the end, it’s as simple as that.

The UK says it wants to go through the Brexit bill line-by-line to work out what it owes the EU, but the EU says spending commitments already agreed to during the current budget round should simply be honored.

David Davis told the House of Commons earlier this week that he had “significant differences” with the EU on the Brexit divorce bill and that the two sides were taking “very different legal stances”.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the final divorce bill could be around £55bn. Mr. Davis has dismissed reports the UK secretly agreed on a bill of up to £50bn. Others suggested the divorce bill could reach £92bn.

The so-called divorce bill has caused controversy for months. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson faced criticism in July for suggesting the EU could “go whistle” if they expected the UK to pay any money to leave.

EU Hucksters

The Sunday Express explains Why EU will NEVER get its £90bn Brexit divorce bill.

EU negotiators were said to have been left “flabbergasted” after British lawmakers told them there was little or no legal basis for their £90billion claim. A young civil servant reportedly left EU negotiators “open-mouthed” with a line-by-line “technical” demolition of the demand.

Tory grandee John Redwood said last night that there was no legal basis for the demand. He also said Mr Davis had no right to authorise it without parliamentary approval.

“Article 50 is clear,” he said. “Once a state leaves it has no further rights and benefits, and no further duties or obligations. It is of course true the treaty does not prevent the EU accepting a payment volunteered by a departing state if it wished to pay one. However, the UK could not make such a payment legally under our own law and system for controlling public spending.”

The former Welsh secretary, who voted for Brexit, said ministers have “absolutely no authority to make one-off additional payments to the EU. The only way Mr. Davis could authorize a leaving payment would be to put through an Act of Parliament specifically authorizing such an ex gratia payment. I can’t see many Conservative MPs wanting to vote for that.”

Eurosceptics on both sides of the house said MPs were likely to vote down any demand deemed “excessive” – even those who had voted Remain.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Almost certainly there will have to be a vote. The money has to be voted through by Parliament and with MPs facing the fury of voters, it cannot be too much money.”

Fellow Brexiteer and Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “Any deal will have to go through Parliament and if its seen in any way excessive then it won’t go through.”

Referring to an ICM poll which found that two-thirds of voters would find paying anything over £10 billion “unacceptable”, he added: “That polling data gives you a ballpark figure of what the British public would find acceptable. We buy more from the EU than we sell, we aren’t charging them for access to our market so what possible reason would they have to charge us for access to theirs unless they want to cost Europeans their livelihoods?

“The British public won’t accept a punishment payment. No MP in their right mind would vote for that, whether they are Brexiteers or Remainers. The EU is talking about multi-billion pound payments in line with the entire NHS budget. The electorate won’t stand for it.”

Labour MP Kate Hoey, who also voted Leave, agreed. She said: “If you give up your membership of a leisure or social club, you don’t have to carry on paying for the staff pensions after you’ve left.”

Journalist Blasts Bexit Divorce Bill


He surprised others on the news panel show Dateline after the three other correspondents relentlessly criticised David Davis and the British negotiating team.

Mr. Burns also hit out at Michel Barnier’s “frankly insulting” tone towards Britain and warned Jean-Claude Juncker that he was “sitting on a volcano”.


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