By Claudia Mullholland
President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, has warned that the Brexit deal will come at cost for Britain. Speaking in late February, Mr Juncker declared that Mrs May should expect no discount, but rather a ‘salty,’ or financially hefty, Brexit deal, as she prepares to trigger the highly contested Article 50.
The announcement comes after Mr Juncker hypothesised that negotiations between Britain and the EU could take up to two years, dashing the hopes of 54% of Brexit voters for a speedy withdrawal from the regional organisation. Drawing attention to the complex rebuilding of European Union architecture, Mr Juncker seems set to stand firm against the demands of the dissenting British as they prepare to reshape the Union. The statement is an expression of the European Commission’s intention for Britain to carry on contributing to the EU budget for up to four years, or until 2023, following the nation’s complete withdrawal from the regional body.
The commission plans to demand a €60 billion settlement as means through which to temporarily patch over the financial hole that Brexit will leave in the EU budget. The UK currently contributes approximately £18.8 billion a year to the EU, of which around 45% finances the EU’s various social funds investing in the least well off member states to attempt to reduce regional economic discrepancies. Without the UK’s contribution to the EU’s budget, greater financial responsibility will be placed on Germany and France, and social investment initiatives will shrink.
The news comes as a disappointment to many of those who voted in favour of Brexit last June. With EU funding to the Welsh Valleys looking set to fall significantly as the UK prepares to withdraw, it seems likely that Britain’s net contribution to the European supranational body will get worse before it gets better.
Photograph: European People’s Party via Flickr