According to an article in the Financial Times, the European Union has raised its opening demand for Britain’s Brexit bill to an upfront gross payment of up to €100 billion to maximise the liabilities Britain is asked to cover, including post-Brexit farm payments and EU administration fees in 2019 and 2020. This ultimatum reflects the steadily hardening position of many EU member states. France and Poland have pushed for the inclusion of post-Brexit annual farm payments, while Germany is against granting Britain a share of EU assets. Estimates of the Brexit bill are highly variable because they include assumptions on Britain’s exit date, its proper share of contributions, UK receipts such as its budget rebate or EU investment spending, and the type of liabilities it is expected to honour. David Davis, the UK Brexit secretary, told ITV that the UK would “not be paying €100 billion”. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has said no figure will be set until the end of the Brexit process and payments could be staggered. As well as adding €10 billion-€15 billionn of mainly farm-related payments, the commission’s tougher approach denies London a share of assets such as buildings. According to Financial Times calculations, this brings the upfront gross settlement demand to €91 billion-€113 billion, depending on how Britain’s share is calculated. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, will unveil a draft negotiating mandate, including the Brexit bill assumptions, on Wednesday.
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