Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU chief, has stated in a speech to the Belgian Federal Parliament that Brexit will not come “at a discount or at zero cost”, implying that the UK could have to pay the EU up to £51bn pounds after Brexit talks begin – this is to cover the amount Britian had agreed to spend, but will no longer do so as Britian will no longer be a member of the European Union.
It will be a tough negotiation which will take two years to agree on the exit terms. And to agree on the future architecture of relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union we will need years.
“The British people have to know, they know already, that it will not be at a discount or at zero cost. The British must respect commitments they were involved in making. So the bill will be, to put it a bit crudely, very hefty.”
Theresa May’s Government faces these issues, and more, as she hopes to pass the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords. If passed, this will allow the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which formally announces Britian’s withdrawal from the EU, and allows negotiations to officially begin.
In response to this, Stephen Mayer, who is a CDU member of the German Parliament – and ally to Angela Merkel – has spoken out against the ‘agressive’ manner of the EU chief in an interview on BBC Radio 4.
“I am not so happy with this aggressive line, [..] I am convinced that Germany has a special interest in stable and good relationships with the UK. I fear in a certain way that this harsh pressure, which is put by the European Commission on the UK, is not in Germany’s interests.”