UK ready to pay 50bn euros to leave EU, say reports

London: Britain may be ready to pay up to 50 billion euros to leave the European Union, local media reports say.

British ministers have declined to comment on the reports as Prime Minister Theresa May will be heading for Brussels on Monday (Dec 4) for talks with European Commission President President Jean-Claude Juncker and negotiator Michel Barnier.

Juncker has estimated that Britain owes EU roughly 60 billion euros. Although Barnier hints at positive offers from Britain, he does not want to talk further until the matter is settled.

In Britain, hardline supporters of Brexit still feel Britain owes EU nothing.

Britain wants to move ahead and discuss tree trade pact with EU before it leaves the group in 16 months. But EU will not accept this until the two sides make considerable progress on settling the accounts, rights of EU citizens in Britain after Brexit and Irish border. Among other issues dogging them is Britain’s contribution to pensions for EU staff.

Monday’s talks in Brussels are going to be crucial for Britain which wants to take Brexit talks to the next stage at the EU summit on December 14-15.

EU negotiators also insist that Britain should allow European judges to have a final say on enforcing the rights of EU citizens living in the country after Brexit.

The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit remains another thorny issue with Ireland insisting that there should be no ‘hard border’ with regulatory checks on goods and people passing between the two countries. Most EU states support this view.