Brexit: Barnier says things will be 'more difficult' for UK
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As part of the Brexit deal agreed with the EU, Britain agreed to pay a divorce fee to the bloc, estimated to be about £37.1billion (€41billion). But new Brussels estimates put the sum at a whopping £40.8billion (€47.5billion), prompting the UK Government to hit out. The row comes as Lord Frost aims to resolve the post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland within the next two weeks.
The EU divorce bill includes the UK’s share of the bloc’s debts and liabilities during its 47 years of membership, and includes paying for infrastructure projects and pensions of Brussels officials.
The UK has hit out at the EU’s fresh estimates and said a final total has yet to be reached.
A No10 spokesperson said: “This is just an accounting estimate, and does not reflect the exact amount the UK is expected to pay to the EU this year.
“We will publish detail on payments to and from the EU made under the financial settlement in the EU finances statement later this year.”
It comes as the UK hopes to end its long dispute with the bloc over the Northern Ireland Protocol, culminating in the so-called sausage wars.
Last month the two sides agreed to a three-month extension to a grace period on the export of chilled meats, as under current rules such exports from Britain to Northern Ireland would be banned.
When the extension was agreed the UK Government said it would work “energetically” with the EU to find a permanent solution to the issue, as well as resolving wider issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Lord Frost, the UK’s Brexit minister, has said he is “confident” that the “necessary adjustments” could be found.
And yesterday, he told the Policy Exchange think tank that ministers would set out their approach to Parliament before MPs finish for their summer recess on July 22.
He said: “The prize on offer for us all, if we can re-establish a new balance in a way that works for us all, is that we can set relations between the UK and the EU on to a new trajectory, one that moves beyond the current tensions, one that moves beyond the challenges of the last few years, and realises the real, genuine potential for friendly co-operation.”
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