Top lawyer says Britain owes just £1billion to EU for exit bill despite Eurocrats’ grandstanding

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A new report says that Britain has no legal obligation to fund EU spending after Brexit

BRITAIN’S divorce bill for quitting the EU could be as little as £1billion, according to a top lawyer.

Eurocrats have tried to demand a payment of up to €100billion from the UK before we can cut a free-trade deal.

Britain’s liabilities to the EU on leaving the group could be as little as £1billion, according to a new report

Leaders in Brussels claim Britain must pay billions to account for our share of future EU spending and bureaucrats’ pensions.

However, a new report by a QC who is an expert in EU law argues that in fact the UK has no legal obligation to contribute to the European budget after 2019, when we are due to quit the organisation.

Martin Howe, an intellectual property barrister, suggests that the EU is deliberately exaggerating its case to get more money out of Britain during exit negotiations.

His report, released yesterday, concludes that Britain is obliged to contribute to the EU budget only because of a clause in the main European treaties.

But now we have triggered Article 50, the UK will withdraw from those treaties in March 2019 as the final step in quitting the EU.

Mr Howe therefore concludes that the EU has no legal power to make Britain pay for spending which takes place after that date.

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Theresa May is hoping to start Brexit negotiations with a strong hand by winning re-election

Top Eurocrats such as Jean-Claude Juncker have tried to argue that because the UK has signed up to spending plans which stretch beyond 2019, we must pay into the EU budget for years more.

They also say that Britain must contribute to the pot used to pay pensions for EU employees, many of whom are from the UK.

to friendly media anonymously rather than making them publicly.

He said: “They may be fully conscious that it is weak legally, but of course they are not going to say that in public.

“A standard exercise with litigation is to go before the press with a slant which is meant to be read by the other side. Don’t take what’s fed to the press at face value.”

The experienced lawyer described the EU claims as “completely unprecedented” because international organisations do not usually make their members pay an exit fee when they leave.

He pointed out that because Britain did not have to “buy in” to EU assets when we joined the bloc, it is inconsistent to make us pay for the pensions liabilities when we quit.

nintchdbpict0003243234001         Eurocrats like Jean-Claude Juncker are keen to extract a large divorce bill from Britain

The one area where Mr Howe concludes that Britain may have to pay up is the European Development Fund, an international aid body which was set up through a separate treaty.

He suggests in his report – compiled for pro-Brexit group Lawyers for Britain – that the UK’s share of spending which the fund has already pledged beyond 2019 will amount to €1.3billion (£1.1billion).

EU negotiators have said they want to settle the bill before starting talks on a free-trade deal.

 

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