As part of the promised Brexit settlement, the European Union says the UK owes it €47.5billion, a figure far higher than the UK had budgeted for.
The EU assessment, which was published in a budget document, is aimed at reflecting the UK’s ongoing commitments to EU programmes it’s still benefiting from, as well as other obligations to the bloc. The bulk of funds are to be paid to the EU in the coming years.
This accounting is expected to trigger new discussions with the UK, which in 2018 estimated the total bill would amount to €41.4billion.
The EU said that for 2021, the UK payment should total €6.8billion, with the rest to be paid later. The British government has previously acknowledged some payments to the EU would need to continue for several decades – including liabilities such as the pensions of officials.
The two sides continue to bicker over a number of issues related to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Only last month, officials announced a 3-month postponement over a clash about British companies selling chilled meats to the province as they continue to negotiate new trade rules for the region, the so-called Northern Ireland protocol.