Britain does not recognize media reports that the government is willing to pay 40 billion euros to exit the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said.
The so-called “exit bill” is one of the first issues on the Brexit negotiating agenda, and also one of the most contentious. The EU has articulated a figure of 60 billion euros, while Britain has not indicated how much it would be prepared to pay.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that Britain would be willing to pay up to 40 billion euros, citing three unnamed sources familiar with Britain’s negotiating strategy.
“In terms of this figure, I don’t recognize it,” May’s spokesman told reporters.
“The prime minister made clear in the letter triggering Article 50 that the UK and the EU need to discuss a fair settlement of both our rights and obligations as an EU member state.”
The UK has less than two years to negotiate the terms of its exit from the EU – after 40 years of legal, economic and political integration. Early rounds of talks have made little progress, with the EU’s negotiating team demanding exact position of the UK in the entire spectrum of issues, while the UK negotiators were reluctant to go into detail, without agreeing on concepts.
When asked whether Britain and the EU were expecting to come up with a firm figure for the exit bill at this stage in the talks, or a less precise agreement covering the rules which would be used to calculate it, the spokesman said: “I’m not getting into a running commentary on the negotiations or the precise structure of them.”