UPDATED: EU says UK liable to pay 47.5 billion euros to EU in post-Brexit settlement

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The European Union said that the United Kingdom is liable to pay 47.5 billion euros ($56.2 billion) to the EU as part of its post-Brexit financial settlement.

The EU’s consolidated budget report for 2020 said that the money is owed under a series of articles which both sides agreed to as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The UK Treasury, however, insisted the Brexit divorce settlement remained within its previous central range of 40.74 billion euros to 45.40 billion euros, the Financial Times reported late on Thursday. The Treasury did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The 47.5 billion euros amount is significantly higher than expected. The UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted in its March 2018 economic and fiscal outlook report that the bill would amount to 41.4 billion euros.

An initial amount of 6.8 billion euros is due for payment in 2021, the EU’s consolidated budget report added, with the remainder of the amount to be paid later.

A sum total amount of 47.5 billion euros was mentioned in the report as “net receivable from the UK”.

A trade and cooperation deal between the UK and EU was struck in December after more than four years of acrimonious negotiations and lingering mistrust as Britain ended 47 years of EU membership.

On Tuesday, the European Union urged London to consider a Swiss-style veterinary agreement with Brussels on agri-foods to end a post-Brexit ‘sausage war’ row over certain goods moving between Britain and its province of Northern Ireland.

Tension has mounted over trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, particularly for chilled meats, because the province’s open border with EU member Ireland is Britain’s only land frontier with the EU and its vast single market.

Britain said on Friday it did not recognise European Union’s estimate of the overall Brexit settlement cost, and that the total bill remained within the government’s original projections.

“We don’t recognise that figure,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told reporters. “It’s an estimate produced by the EU for its own internal accounting purposes. For example, it doesn’t reflect all the money owed back to the UK, which reduces the amount we pay.” 

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