THERESA May is preparing to slap Brussels with a hefty Brexit bill of its own in response to European Union (EU) demands for an eye watering £85 billion divorce payment.
Mrs May said the bloc owed Britain billions of pounds for its share of the European Investment Bank and other joint projects.
She told the Sunday Telegraph “money paid in the past” by the UK must be taken into account in any final financial settlement thrashed out during the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
The Prime Minister insisted the UK had financial “rights” that must be respected during discussions about payments as well as “obligations” to the EU as it leaves.
The intervention is a clear rejection of hardline EU countries who have argued that the UK should not get back its proportion of EU assets.
Britain to stump up tens of billions of pounds when the to cover EU payments that have already been agreed.But Mrs May pushed back on the amounts that “some of the figures the EU” have been pushing for the so-called Brexit bill.She said: “There is much debate about what the UK’s obligations might be or indeed what our rights might be in terms of money being paid in in the past. We make it clear that we would look at those both rights and obligations.”“There’s the investment bank, there’s the investment fund, there are various areas. This will be, as you know, an important part of the negotiations.”The comment is the first time the Prime Minister has indicated publicly she wants to keep a share of the European Investment Bank.Government sources said the UK’s share of the bank has been estimated at 16 per cent – which equals to around £8.5 billion.EU officials expect Brexit negotiations to begin in earnest just 10 days after the result of the General Election is announced.Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, is understood to have pencilled in June 19 as the first day for detailed talks on Britain’s departure from the bloc.The session is expected to kick off weeks of intense wrangling over the UK’s future relationship with the EU during the summer.Ministers from the 27 other EU nations are due to meet on Monday to confirm the timetable for the talks.An EUB official involved in the Brexit negotiation process said: ”The 19th is tentative, because Britain cannot confirm anything until after the elections.””The 19th is the earliest date they can envisage.”