Analysis carried out by the Financial Times has shown that the UK could face a bill of up to €20bn to leave the European Union, with the shared budget emerging as a significant political obstacle to any Brexit deal. EU accounts show that more than €300bn of shared liabilities would need to be settled by the Member States, based on decades of joint obligations. These joint liabilities have been calculated as follows: €241bn of unpaid budget appropriations, €63.8bn of pensions liabilities and €32bn of future contractual and other spending commitments. The UK will need to pay its share of these liabilities and this is likely to hit the British taxpayer. The precise amount of the withdrawal bill is impossible to calculate as it depends on what political deal is reached between the Member States. Furthermore, it leaves the remaining EU Member States (such as Germany, France and Italy) with the dilemma of filling any gap left behind by Britain’s exit, or pulling the plug on programmes that Brussels and many countries in Eastern Europe consider to be legally binding. The figure of €20bn only covers projects that have already been approved by the remaining member states, and does not address any future shortfall created after 2019 by Britain’s withdrawal from the EU budget.
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