Government Rejects German Plan for Continued EU Payments After Brexit

Theresa May Philip Hammond
OWEN HUMPHREYS/AFP/Getty

Downing Street has hit back at claims by the anti-Brexit chancellor, who claimed the UK could keep paying the European Union (EU) massive amounts after Brexit for access to financial markets.

Government figures were reportedly looking into a ‘tailor-made’ trade deal, with the UK remaining tied to the bloc’s financial markets, The Times claimed. The plan was spearheaded by German officials, and Norway currently has a similar arrangement.

Britain is a net contributor to the bloc, which is facing a €12 billion to €15 billion hole in its annual budget after Brexit.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, who initially opposed Brexit and has subsequently pushed for a ‘soft’ divorce with the UK inside the EU’s Single Market, appeared to embrace the idea.

Asked in Berlin if Britain could pay the EU for banking access, he said: “We will talk about all of these things.”

However, Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, has previously insisted that no special deal on banking can be made after Brexit.

On Friday, Downing Street also seemed to dismiss the idea. “We will not be paying for market access,” a spokesman for Theresa May told The Times.

“The government’s position, set out at Lancaster House and Florence, is unchanged.

“In developing our future partnership we will want to continue working together to promote the long-term economic development of our continent.

“This will include continuing to take part in specific policies and programmes where that is in our joint interest, making an ongoing contribution to cover our fair share of the costs.”

Mrs. May has already said the UK will meet “financial obligations” to the bloc, believed to total around £20 billion, and will continue paying into the bloc’s annual budget for the agreed two-year so-called Brexit ‘transition period’.

However, she also insisted in a speech in January last year that Britain will not make “vast payments” to the EU after Brexit.

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