Britain may have to still pay the EU for 4 years after its leaves

LONDON — The European Union wants Britain to continue paying into projects and plans up to 2023, according to the Telegraph.

The paper reports on Tuesday that the EU wants contributions to continue up to four years after Britain officially leaves the 28-nation state bloc to help smooth over a budget hole that will be left by Brexit. The Telegraph quotes an unnamed source as saying that 2023 is “when the financial demands of the EU’s seven-year budget cycle are at their highest.”

The EU wants the British government to pay a €60 billion “divorce bill” to make good on budget commitments made while it was a member state. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has reportedly suggested this sum be paid in instalments up until 2023.

The demand is likely to be yet another contentious issue for the government to address in Brexit negotiations. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 shortly, beginning the two-year Brexit negotiating period, and battle lines are already being drawn between the EU and Britain.

Barnier is also set to tell Theresa May’s government that it cannot expect to negotiate a new trade relationship with the EU until terms of the initial divorce, including the multi-billion pound bill, have been agreed by all parties.

Meanwhile, May plans to push for a slice of the EU’s near €150 billion in cash and assets when Britain leaves, arguing that it has paid in for so many years that it deserves a share.

The House of Lords on Monday began a two-day debate on the triggering of Article 50, which begins the two-year window for Britain to negotiate its exit from the EU.

You can read the full Telegraph report here.

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