EU asks for clarity on UK financial payments

I don’t understand why there is any lack of clarity on this simple subject. The UK owes our regular contributions up to the date of departure. The UK owes no contributions thereafter or special payments to leave.

If they want us to stay in the EIB we can come to an agreement about our capital in that Bank. If we want to stay in Erasmus and they want us in there will be a continuing payment related to our share of Erasmus spending as a non EU member of it. Our paid up capital in the ECB is small and not a major issue. If they want us to keep our small shareholding we could.

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40 Comments

  1. Chris S
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    It seems that David Davies has very sensibly asked his team to go through the legal basis for each and every financial demand with their counterparts in Brussels, line by line.

    Either we legally owe money after March 2019 or we don’t.

    Legal opinions obtained by the House of Lords and the view of the Commission’s own legal advisers seem to agree : Their demands have no legal basis.

    In which case we can give Barnier only one answer : NON !

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Chris S

      I agree with you.

      If the EU cannot lay out exactly what we are supposed to owe. how can we argue the amounts, investigate, agree or disagree.

      I agree we owe our monthly payments until we leave, after that why should we pay anything.

      You do not leave a golf club and then help to cough up for a new clubhouse after you have left, unless you are deranged.

      • John Finn
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        You do not leave a golf club and then help to cough up for a new clubhouse after you have left, unless you are deranged.

        Indeed – but what exactly is our legal position on this. In the case of a golf club, even if the person resigning had been a senior committee member and had voted in favour of a new clubhouse, they would not be expected to continue paying their subscriptions after leaving. However, it’s not likely that the resignation of a single member would have a major impact on golf club funds.

        Unfortunately, there is no previous precedent here. I suspect that if a state that was paying a relatively small net contribution were leaving the exit fee would not be an issue.

        For the EU to be consistent, though, I’m wondering if there might be a case where the EU would be required to continue to fund a net beneficiary state for a period after it decided to leave the EU. I’m thinking of a situation where funding for a project within that state was agreed and signed off BEFORE the state triggered Article 50.

        • alan jutson
          Posted July 22, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          John Finn

          “what is our legal position on this….”

          I thought the House of Lords experts had looked at this, and concluded we owe nothing other than our monthly fees.

          If we still want mutual co-operation on separate ongoing projects, then we pay our agreed share for such projects.

      • Dennis
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        “You do not leave a golf club and then help to cough up for a new clubhouse after you have left, unless you are deranged.”

        What about if you have agreed to pay for a future clubhouse before you leave or thought of leaving?
        Some argument there surely.

        • stred
          Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:22 am | Permalink

          If major contributors leave the golf club, they should build a smaller club house. This club is planning an even bigger one after the member gave notice to leave.

      • Hope
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        No it I should not a sensible position. The U.K. should have an idea what it legally owes. After all it is part of our current contribution now, so the officials ought to know what these claims are and what that liability I’d up until 2019! Ask any claims must have a legal basis. Do not include if they do not. Do not waste time on vexatious claims? If Barnier wanted a divorce bill chat first that was up to him. But if it then comes to deals do not ask for a contribution as he was told at the outset that both should be considered in tandem. It should implicit by his response that any trade deal is free of any charge on a tarif free basis. Perhaps he could ask Putin for contributions for former USSR countries infrastructure? Perhaps Putin could be told that the jurisdiction of the ECJ applies to any citizen venturing into his terroitroy.

  2. NHSGP
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    EIB.

    The condition is we can trade the shares on the LSE.

    etc ed

    Ask them for a payment to access the UK market.

    Turn up with Norway, Switzerland, and say you are supporting them because they demand a cut in payments now they don’t have to pay to trade with the UK.

    Ask the WTO if we can put 50% tariffs on French wine, cars etc.

    Research WTO rules for what it means to be “bound”. WTO jargon.

    Demand that the EU recompenses the UK for the costs of EU migrants here on welfare.

    Lots of min wage migrants who you let in and flogged state services below cost.

    In 2010/11, households in the highest quintile effectively financed the great majority of net transfer to all other households.

    Lowest quintile: received £10,153 more in benefits than paid in taxes
    Second quintile: received £9,655 more in benefits than paid in taxes
    Middle quintile: received £4,589 more in benefits than paid in taxes
    Fourth quintile: paid £4,113 more in taxes than received in benefits
    Highest quintile: paid £20,125 more in taxes than received in benefits

    At 10K plus a head, billions to be had from the EU. Offer them a reverse deal.

  3. Freeborn John
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    The UK should not participate in Erasmus. In practice, because of the English language, it has become largely a one-way street by which British taxpayers funded the education of foreigners (at least until the £9000 per year charges were introduced). It would be better to have a program that allowed exchange of students between the English-speaking countries and forget Erasmus which was always intended as a vehicle for building a European identity to legitimise the European state the EU wans to become. It would be extraordinary if the UK would continue to pay to subvert its own identity into a European one after the long battle to free ourselves from the Brussels takeover.

    • Mark
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Don’t confuse Erasmus and regular degree education. Erasmus provides short term courses (average about 6 months). You are right that other EU countries benefit far more from sending their students to the UK – some 65,000 in 2014/15, compared with about 15,000 going the other way.

      Of course, the imbalance in degree education is even higher proportionately, and the opportunity to have student loans has not deterred EU students much (though the recent increases in fees for non EU students do seem to have deterred some of them). EU students coming to study for degrees are a little over 30,000 a year, while UK students going to the EU are probably fewer than 5,000 a year (given that UK students emigrating for study total fewer than 10,000 a year to all destinations)

    • Qubus
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      I know for a fact that the ERASMUS scheme is extremely one-sided. For every single British student who goes to the EU, there are about six EU students who come to the UK. It’s the language stupid!!!!!

    • hefner
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Not really an accurate comment: the countries most demanded by Erasmus students are in decreasing order, Spain (39300), France (28964), Germany (27872), and only in fourth position the UK (25760). Look at europa.eu document IP-13-657 “Number of Erasmus student tops 3 million”.
      Given that a large proportion of EU students already have English, they tend to go to other countries to get fluent in a third language, a thing that less two percent of British people are able to do.
      If every Brit were thinking like you, I would not be too hopeful for the success of Brexit.

  4. Perfectly clear
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    It is a baby-faced ploy by the EU negotiating side to bring the UK into spelling out its theoretical red lines which the EU will then say are rigid and are not a serious postion from which to even start negotiating.
    It is a ploy. But a good one. The reply should be silence from the UK side and to walk away from the table and suggest on leaving that when the EU wishes or if it wishes to start serious negotiations then send an email to 10 Downing Street with proposed dates and places six months hence because we are busy before that time. Make them a gift of a sun-dial to update EU technology.

    • Duncan
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:00 am | Permalink

      Absolutely. It is obvious to those who choose to see it that the EU is testing our allegiance and loyalty to sensitive areas of EU activity. It’s a strategy designed to slander the UK should we choose not to participate or commit in certain areas

      The left in Britain play the same card vis a vis welfare spending, foreign aid or NHS financing. It is a form of moral blackmail and it can work as witnessed every Christmas when the NHS propaganda machine go into overdrive with tales of catastrophe and central govt, out of the fear of bad press accusing them of heartlessness or callousness, simply throw more money at the issue

  5. Stickler
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Cancel the next series of meetings and make the excuse..well anything, illness amongst royalty, sickness like that of the Senator of Arizona which holds back his signing of the repeal of ObamaCare..anything..delay!!! They are too interested in the clock…that is their weakness…for reasons they must know. Why would you mention Time with 3 years to go..enough time to go pig sticking in Kent, get married and divorced three times over! The EU is short of time!!!!!!

  6. fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    We must not pay a single penny to leave other than what we lawfully owe on our normal contributions. If we do then I see it as an affront against the British people. Just more throwing our money around. As for the EU still wanting to fine us after we have left – well I am speechless.

  7. Checkmate
    Posted July 20, 2017 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    The EU is stepping up its sanctions on the Groupe de Visegrád . The showdown is not yet though, as the EU is merely banning participation in certain “executive.” groupings. But the showdown will be relatively soon. Those countries cannot withstand, politically, dilution in religion, custom or ethnicity, they are vulnerable and they know it. They will fight the EU unto death.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

      That is not clear they very much like the subsidies

      • rose
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Macron’s threats against them before he was even elected may have been hastened by his knowledge that we would leave a big hole in the budget and his excuse for picking on them for economies was ready made.

      • Checkmate
        Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        They very much liked virtually buckshee Soviet gas too

  8. Newmania
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    We could take the matter to court or we could walk away from our debts . The problem is we have no power in this discussion and due to our foolish triggering of article 50 our weakness gets more so every day

    • Edward2
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      We are one side in this process with great power.
      Article 50 is just the way the EU have allowed us to use to escape.
      After we escape this route will be removed.

    • Andy
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Be really great if you understood the European Union you so busily defend. David Davis has, quite rightly, asked Barnier to produce the legal basis for each and every demand for cash. He hasn’t done so to date. Why ? Because there is no basis in Law for these daft demands. Read the treaties.

    • zorro
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Well, you wouldn’t have triggered anything! In any case, A50 is clear in that having given notice we may leave in accordance with our own constitutional requirements. As simple as that….. http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-european-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html

      zorro

  9. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Just on a point of tactics I’m not sure it’s wise just to let Barnier mouth off on his own about how badly the negotiations are going and how badly prepared the UK side is because that will just be reported as fact by the BBC and press. Davis should also do press conferences where he comments in a perplexed way about the lack of an explanation of the legal basis for any payments demanded and so on.

    • Mark
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      I note that the UK has a sizeable negotiating team – about twice as many as Barnier’s. I suspect that some of the best legal brains in London have joined the team, and will prove more than a strong match for anyone the EU put up.

  10. agricola
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    When you leave a club you forfeit what is left of the annual membership. You do not continue to pay for next years set of curtains because you voted to replace them at some time in the future. If there is something in the clubs continued activities like a fund for members widows which you agree with, then continue voluntary payments if you so choose.

  11. Helen
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    David Davis has already conceded we will be paying up. It would help if you followed what is happening.

    • John Finn
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Paying up what? 200 quid? – 40 grand? – a few million? – or £88 billion?

    • zorro
      Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense – show me exactly where he says ‘we will be paying up’…. He talks about both the EU and Uk having certain obligations to each other – not one way traffic!

      zorro

  12. stred
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Where do we stand following the MoD quietly signing us up to expand and join comrade Mogherini’s army, navy and airforce? Do we owe anything after we leave officially? Presumably, Mrs May knows about this but did not think it important enough to mention to the HoC and is hoping that the matter will go away during her holiday.

  13. James Neill
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    We are indeed obliged to pay more than our normal contributions- as we have also made commitments to the EU for well into the future. We can renege on these commitments of course but that would be a crash out scenario.. which some are advocating we should do.

    Personally I think it is much too late to be talking about Erasmus and other similar schemes now, A50 has been activated and in the spring of 2019 we are leaving the EU whether we like it or not. The EU is not inclined either to agree to a transitional period with us because there will be EU parliament elections in May 2019 and they will want a clean ending to the exit talks so that they can get on with their business and their lives. Also Macron will be there for only five years more before he has to face the french electorate again- he is not going to relish the thought of having the UK hang around in an ongoing fudge basis and so that will not be acceptable and will not be agreed to by the EU side – therefore we had better get on with making our own plans for the future.

    I see that Liam Fox was over in Geneva at the WTO center yesterday dusting off the old UK archived files from pre 1973 time. I suppose we are now going to have to assemble a team to go in there and start to pick up the threads.. taking back control

  14. Anonymous
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Macedonia Iceland Norway
    Liechtenstein Turkey

    Not in the EU yet in erasmus.

  15. Know-dice
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    It’s a bit weird, like one of those restaurants where they ask you to pay what you think the food/service was worth…

    Well Monsieur Barnier, your food and service isn’t worth a Euro Cent, so to paraphrase a well know British Prime Minster “non, non, non”…

  16. Epikouros
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    It appears that the EU is playing for time or have decided that their need to deter others from leaving is the most important consideration or they believe that if they bully and are intransigent then the UK will capitulate. I suspect it is a mixture of all three which if not competently countered will ensure that the EU will win.

    Establishing which has been that the UK has the least to lose if there is no deal and has the strongest case does not in this instance help the UK’s bargaining position. The UK are dealing with an EU negotiating team that are not interested in what is best for their members only in protecting the interests of the EU institution. So Barnier et al like an ecclesiastic heretic trial of old will only argue dogma and dismiss all other considerations as irrelevant.

  17. Posted July 21, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Why haven’t we submitted our own list of what the EU owes us? As many keep referring to Brexit as a divorce, shouldn’t we be following normal practice and splitting the assets between us and the EU based on our respective contributions to the “marriage”?
    There are certainly considerable property assets, shouldn’t we have our share or require the EU to buy them out?
    Every demand from the EU should be met by an equal and opposite demand; the demand that EU courts should have responsibility for EU citizens in the UK, should be met by one for UK courts to have the final say relating to our citizens in the EU.
    When I read about these negotiations it starts to become obvious why the state always seems to lose out in its major contracts with the private sector. Our top Civil Servants are behaving far too much like gentlemen and don’t want to upset anyone. Sorry, in negotiations, that just doesn’t work.

  18. Terry
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    So when are the Brussels mob going to supply their accounts to justify their outrageous claim on us?

    Should not our Brexit team be asking this question instead of accepting more delaying tactics from Brussels?

  19. Simon Coleman
    Posted July 22, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    The UK government has accepted for some time that we do have financial obligations. You would expect nothing else after 40-odd years of close economic integration. We’ve accepted it – end of question.

  20. Merlinthehammer
    Posted July 22, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    We HAVEN’T ‘accepted it’, we are merely saying there are reciprocal commitments. That may well mean that once we have sifted out all the ‘noise’, the EU actually owes US money. Cynics would say the EU knows this already, and is simply creating a distraction via the ‘Brexit bill’ in the (ultimately futile) hope that we might somehow not notice how the financial land lies… It’s not helped that our government appears to be toploaded with idiots like Hammond, who is behaving like a crooked cab driver – taking the long way round for his own benefit, in the mistaken belief that the folks in the back seat have no idea what his game is..

  21. bony
    Posted July 23, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    The question of the EU evidencing the basis of its claims is common sense but is itself just part of a bigger equation. It is becoming clear already the government has placed up everything for negotiation and its red lines are really red herrings. Where is the cost estimate to this country of Theresa May’s ‘generous offer’ to take on 3.2 millions European migrants? They conservatives have even opened up for discussion the ludicrous suggestion of eu migrants here being subject to EU law where a clear red line of ‘our laws or leave’. Its is eminently sensible for any government to check the criminal record of potential migrants yet May and Davies have allowed that sensible suggestion to be questioned. The truth is where on course to get a negotiated bad deal dressed up as a dogs dinner that will limit our countries capacity to reap the full range of benefits from leaving.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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