The EU’s Brexit negotiators expect to spend until December solely discussing Britain’s outstanding budget liabilities and the rights of expatriate citizens, delaying any trade talks until next year.
Britain’s departure bill will be its share of all EU assets and liabilities at the moment of leaving.
The European Commission is considering basing the calculations on an average of several years of annual contributions to the EU budget. – but the question is which years.
However, contributions can vary dramatically. Between 2007-13, Britain contributed an average of 10.7% to the EU budget. In 2014, Britain paid €11.34 billion (7.9%) and, in 2015, €18.21 billion (11.2%). These payments were after a rebate, initially secured by late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which has fluctuated between €6.25 billion and €3.56 billion over the past decade.
In a new report for the Centre for European Reform, Alex Barker, Brussels bureau chief of the Financial Times, puts the figure at anything between €24.5bn and €72.8bn.
Link to Alex Barker’s report
The bill comprises three main elements. The first, and largest, is the so-called “reste à liquider” (amount yet to be paid), followed by investment commitments and “cohesion” funding for poorer countries due after Britain leaves the EU in 2019.
The third, and most contentious, is pensions for EU officials. The liabilities for the EU’s unfunded scheme stand at over €63.8 billion. Britain can cover its 1,760 nationals, but will likely be unwilling to pay for all 22,000 Eurocrats drawing an average pension of €67,149 a year.