The UK should be forced to keep paying billions to the European Union (EU) ten years after it leaves, and cannot expect any special deal on migration, a leading EU politician has insisted.
“There is no à la carte menu. There is only the whole menu or none,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, a prominent member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, told the Financial Times in an interview published Thursday.
He backed claims from Poland that the EU should continue demanding billions in contributions after Brexit, saying Britain’s financial commitments will “last beyond the exit.”
“Possibly there will be some commitments that last beyond the exit … even, in part, to 2030 … Also we cannot grant any generous rebates,” he added.
On Thursday, Konrad Szymanski, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, said: “I think the EU will stand on the position that in the current financial framework Britain’s budget contributions should be upheld.”
Without its current rebate, the UK could be expected to pay more than £30 billion to the EU according to its current commitments for 2020 and the last nine months of 2019, The Times calculates.
With such punishing demands, Mr. Schäuble suggested that “at some point the British will realise they have taken the wrong decision.”
On free movement and financial regulation, the German minister was similarly uncompromising.
Last week, Chancellor Merkel hinted she might be willing to compromise on free movement, but Mr. Schäuble said that the UK must accept open borders if it wants to remain in the Single Market.
“Without membership of the internal market, without acceptance of the four basic freedoms of the internal market there can, of course, be no passporting, no free access for financial products or for financial actors,” he said.
Mr. Schäuble also decried the election of Donald Trump, saying the German government was “concerned” and was “now trying to make the best of the result.”
“I believe that the US is still indispensable for a world that wants to be at peace,” he said, while calling the U.S. election result “a wake-up call” for the EU to do more in terms of building an EU army.