U.K. Spurns EU’s 47.5 Billion Euro Estimate for Post-Brexit Tab

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The U.K. government said it doesn’t accept the European Union’s assessment that London owes the bloc 47.5 billion euros ($56.2 billion) as part of the Brexit settlement, a higher figure than the U.K. had originally estimated.

“We don’t recognize that figure,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman Jamie Davies told reporters Friday. The U.K.’s “estimate remains in the central range of 35 to 39 billion” pounds (40.8 to 45.5 billion euros), he said, and full details will be published in parliament shortly.

The EU assessment, which was published in a budget document, is aimed at accounting for the U.K.’s ongoing commitments to EU programs it’s still benefiting from, as well as other obligations to the bloc. The bulk of funds are due to the EU in the coming years.

The accounting seems likely to trigger new discussions with the U.K., which estimated in 2018 that the total bill would amount to 41.4 billion euros.

Asked whether that meant the U.K. would refuse to pay the 47.5 billion euro bill, Davies repeated: “We don’t recognize that figure.”

An EU spokesperson said Friday that the estimate is final and the bloc has received no indication the amount will be contested. The spokesperson added that the British government has already paid the first installment of its bill for this year.

The EU said that for 2021, the U.K. payment should total 6.8 billion euros, with the rest to be paid later. Some payments to the EU could continue for liabilities such as the pensions of officials for several decades, the U.K. government has acknowledged.

The two sides continue to bicker over a number of issues related to the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU. Late last month, officials postponed for thee months a clash over British companies selling chilled meats to Northern Ireland as they continue to negotiate new trade rules for the region.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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