A senior remain-supporting government minister has said the official Brexit day may have to be delayed as the Commission demands Britain pay the £39 billion so-called divorce bill whether the nation leaves with a deal or not.
The new Brexit threats come just days after the United Kingdom’s House of Commons voted to send the prime minister back to Brussels to get further concessions from intransigent Eurocrats — which the EU immediately rejected out of hand.
The European Commission, led by President Jean-Claude Juncker — one of several European leaders who were lined up to ridicule Brexit and insult the United Kingdom in a BBC documentary broadcast Monday — moved to recapture the initiative late Wednesday evening, demanding Britain pay the so-called Brexit bill whether it leaves with a deal or not.
Sweden ‘Cannot Forgive’ UK Politicians For ‘Historic Mistake’ of Allowing Brexit https://t.co/WwYVW5tgfC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 31, 2019
The £39 billion sum was agreed between the UK and the EU as a price for a negotiated deal, an outcome preferred by both remain-supporters in Britain as well as on the continent. There would be no reason to pay the significant sum if the country left without a deal, however, an outcome that now seems ever more likely as time marches towards the March 29th exit date.
The Commission said Wednesday: “…all commitments taken by the 28 Member States should be honoured by the 28 Member States.
“This is also true in a ‘no-deal’ scenario, where the UK would be expected to continue to honour all commitments made during EU membership.”
Watch Farage: No Deal Brexit Now More Likely Because of EU ‘Fanatics Who Won’t Compromise’ https://t.co/Q26SbNNYZL
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 30, 2019
The claim was followed up by a threat, reports the Daily Telegraph, when an unnamed EU source said: “If there is no deal, the financial settlement will be the least of our problems and as for ‘Global Britain’ see what your reputation looks like if you don’t pay your bills.”
Yet as Brexit leader Nigel Farage pointed out in the European Parliament Wednesday, Europe desperately needs the money. Pointing out that the EU has much to lose from the United Kingdom leaving without a deal, Farage said: “No deal means no £39bn, and your voters will be coughing up the money.
“No deal means the 100 million bottles we buy every year from Italy will become more expensive, as will three-quarters of a million German cars.”
Concern over Brexit intensified Thursday morning after Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt — who supported the remain campaign during the referendum and now controls one of the great offices of the British state — said Brexit may have to be delayed beyond the March 29th date enshrined in law.
Jeremy Hunt says “a technical extension” of Article 50 may be needed if a new EU deal can’t be legislated for quickly. Most senior Govt minister yet to admit what everybody privately admits – Brexit is going to be delayed #r4today
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 31, 2019
The certainty of the March withdrawal from the European Union, deal or not, has long provided reassurance from Brexiteers who believed that even if the Government failed to come to a negotiated settlement with the European Union, the nation would still depart automatically in 2019. Yet now Mr Hunt told BBC radio Thursday that “If we ended up approving a deal in the days before March 29, then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation.
“But if we are able to make progress sooner, then that might not be necessary.
“We can’t know at this stage exactly which of those scenarios would happen.”