Though the UK seems to have caved in to EU demands on the Brexit divorce bill, it does not appear to be particularly favorable and will require massive reimbursement to the continental European powerhouses.
Sources are saying the figure to be paid to Brussels will be within a range of 40 to 55 billion Euros, as opposed to a fixed figure, with the aim of getting France and Germany on board to agree to further trade negotiations.
Sputnik spoke with Alex de Ruyter, Director of the Center for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University, about the reported divorce settlement.
Sputnik: Will the Divorce Bill deal speed up overall Brexit negotiations?
Alex de Ruyter: Do I believe it will speed it up? I think the other issues still outstanding in terms of the Northern Irish Border and the status of the EU citizens still need to be clarified. The Northern Irish border, of course, is the key one as the Irish government has maintained a firm stance saying that they can’t progress until the EU put in concrete measures to avoid a hard border with Northern Ireland, which the UK government so far has prevaricated on.
It appeared that the mooted divorce bill appeared to be the big sticking point but now it seems that the Northern Irish border will be instead.
Sputnik: Is the fee demanded of Britain in the divorce bill fair?
It funded infrastructure projects in the UK to the tune of billions that includes things like schools, hospitals and of course universities.
I do think it’s fair and frankly never mind what the turnaround legal obligations are, I think that if you were to turn around and walk away and renege on your lending commitments, then your status in the international commercial markets would go through the floor. If you are then seen as an irresponsible creditor and we renege on those commitments, then were are reneging on funding for British institutions.
Sputnik: How will the Divorce Bill affect the claims of increased spending in areas such as the NHS?
It’s quite notable that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage and various others said that leaving the EU would be costless; they said that we would have 350 million pounds which we could send to the NHS for example. I’m not convinced that the politicians in question particularly care about the NHS but that’s another story.
Far from being costless of course this is a real cost and in exchange for that; what do we get? We get nothing in exchange apart from the prospect that we may have a trade deal.
If you improve the connectivity of these regions, you improve the productivity of British businesses that rely on these supply chains. That is actually a benefit to the UK and if you think about it the EU comprises about half of our exports and we rely on them for a lot of imported components. In return; the rest of the EU only relies on Britain for about 10% of its exports
Is Brexit a disaster waiting to happen? Potentially.