The divorce bill from the European Union could run to the tens of billionsby Iain Begg / May 18, 2017 / Leave a comment
Will it be sixty billion euros, one hundred billion or not a brass farthing? As so often when money is involved, the rhetoric around the likely “divorce” bill for the UK to leave the European Union has become increasingly poisonous, despite the fact that no official demand from the EU side has yet been put forward. Equally, the UK has yet to make an opening offer.
Nor is the legal position as clear as the protagonists assert. The House of Lords European Committee caused a stir by saying the UK could walk away with no obligation whatsoever, a verdict welcomed by the government. Legal advice to the EU institutions takes an opposite view. Both extremes, in practice, are largely irrelevant, unless the negotiations degenerate into so hostile a Brexit that it ends not around the table, but in the courts.
There are several potential components of a Brexit bill. Although complex and messy, they boil down to a handful of conceptually distinct elements.