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© Justin Tallis, AFP | Brexit negotiations between the British government and the EU are expected to be tense.

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned on Wednesday that talks with London would not be "painless", knowing that Brussels could claim 100 billion euros from the UK before he leaves .

One hundred billion euros… approximately. This is the sum that the European Union (EU) is preparing to demand from London to settle the Brexit bill, according to calculations by the British daily Financial Times, published on Wednesday May 3. The financial newspaper estimates that Brussels can ask for between 91 billion and 113 billion euros in the multiannual financial framework adopted in 2013, and which runs for the period 2014-2020.

David Davis, the British Brexit secretary, hastened to assure that his country “was not going to pay 100 billion euros” adding that he had never seen such an addition circulating in official circles. salty. Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief negotiator for Brexit, for his part, said he was unable to give a precise figure. He nevertheless acknowledged that the negotiations would be “neither quick nor without pain” because Brussels intends to recover its due. Indeed, sums have been “committed” and “problems” would be inevitable if the “programmes had to be cut or suspended” before the UK officially left the EU on March 29, 2019.

From 60 billion to 100 billion euros

If the British authorities were strangled by taking note of the calculations of the Financial Times is, in part, because this estimate is much higher than the previous one. London had braced itself for a bill of around 60 billion euros, based on press reports of 'private' talks between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and others European leaders.

This new estimate also reflects the increasingly tense climate between the United Kingdom and its European partners. Some of them – such as Germany and France – have thus decided to revise their financial requirements vis-à-vis the United Kingdom upwards.

Obsession with addition

According to the Financial Times, Paris wants London to participate more to support European agriculture before slamming the door. The common agricultural policy has always been a bone of contention between the two countries, France judging that its neighbor across the Channel did not participate sufficiently in the agricultural solidarity effort.

Germany, meanwhile, is against the fact that London retains holdings in several assets, including real estate, which belong to the European Union. A shortfall for the United Kingdom which could amount to ten billion euros, according to the Financial Times.

This obsession with the addition also annoys British negotiators who would like to take the problem upside down. Behind the figure, there is a battle on the roadmap of the negotiations. British Prime Minister Theresa May would like above all to discuss the future contours of trade and diplomatic relations with Europe. Conversely, Brussels insists on the need to evacuate the financial aspect first. The right accounts would make the right negotiations.

First published: 03/05/2017

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