Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Brexit: Philip Hammond rejects €100bn divorce bill figure

Chancellor Philip Hammond has rejected reports that the UK could be asked to pay as much as €100bn (£84.5bn) as part of its divorce settlement with the European Union.
The new figure, which is significantly higher than previous estimates, reflects stricter demands by Germany and France, according to analysis by the Financial Times.

But Mr Hammond, speaking at an election event, told Sky News: "I don't recognise this number, I genuinely don't recognise it.

"It's moved by 60% in the space of a few days... What we do know is that we're on the brink of a very tough, complex, lengthy negotiation.

"I'm not remotely surprised people are manoeuvring for opening advantage in that negotiation."

Brexit Secretary David Davis has also asserted Britain "will not be paying €100bn", adding: "We have not seen a number".

"We will do it (negotiate) in the meeting, we will do it properly, we will take our responsibility seriously," he told Good Morning Britain.

Unveiling his draft negotiating mandate in Brussels, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he could not put a figure on the settlement but added Britain has to "respect" its financial commitments as a member state.

He said: "Commitments have been made and they have to be honoured.

"I want to reach an agreement on behalf of the 27 (remaining states)... we are not trying to create problems, we are trying to resolve problems."

Mr Barnier added that it would be "explosive" if Brexit caused an EU funding shortage which ended projects across the continent.

He said: "All we are asking for is for the accounts to be cleared.

"It is not a blank cheque... leaving the union does not have a price which needs to be paid".

SKY    News.

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