And that reality is finally hitting home.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government looks set for an early clash with European Union leaders over the terms of Brexit as a report suggested it can leave the bloc without paying a financial settlement.
The Times newspaper on Saturday said government lawyers concluded there is no law or treaty to compel the U.K. to pay the bill EU officials have estimated at about 60 billion euros ($64 billion). That echoed a newly published finding of a House of Lords committee.
“Even though we consider that the U.K. will not be legally obliged to pay into the EU budget after Brexit, the issue will be a prominent factor in withdrawal negotiations,” Committee Chairwoman Kishwer Falkner said in a statement. “The government will have to set the financial and political costs of making such payments against potential gains from other elements of the negotiations.”
Haggling over how much Britain owes appears set to provide an early test of the formal negotiations, which May has pledged to invoke by the end of March. Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern became the first EU leader to put a value on the bill when he told Bloomberg last month that Britain should be charged about 60 billion euros.
That sparked anger from May’s Conservative Party, with former leader Iain Duncan Smith calling it “nonsense.” Trade Secretary Liam Fox has dismissed the idea of paying anything at all as “absurd.”
The EU nannycrats have long insisted they have the upper hand in negotiations. The reality is the UK is not obliged to do anything, including a filing Article 50. The UK can tear up the treaty tomorrow and be done with it.
The primary problem in these negotiations is the EU nannycrat fools believe they can force the UK to pay ridiculous exit charges on top of other demands.
The ideal approach for the UK is to simply walk away. What can the EU possibly do that does not hurt the EU even more than it does the UK?
The sooner Theresa May sets the appropriate tone for negotiations the better off everyone will be.
Serious negotiations can only begin once Theresa May sets the proper tone. The proper tone is the UK is prepared to walk away and pay the EU nothing.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock