22:38 GMT +321 September 2019
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    Pro-Brexit flags fly from a fishing boat moored in Ramsgate on June 13, 2016.

    Pay It Forward: Brexit May Be Blocked Until UK Liquidates €25Bn Debt

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    Brexit could cost the UK a pretty penny, as it emerged that London owes Brussels €25 billion in outstanding debt that would have to be paid or liquidated upon Britain exiting the European Union, German media reported.

    According to an unnamed European official talking to WirtschaftsWoche, Britain won’t be able to leave the bloc until it pays off €25 billion: “A deal with Great Britain is unthinkable until the Brits settle this liability.”

    The report outlined that this money is a share of some €200 billion in outstanding commitments by all 28 member states of the bloc.

    Under EU regulations, each bloc state contributes funds to a joint account that is used for realization of large-scale infrastructural projects within the bloc through the years. In practice that means that if the EU funds a bridge, the full sum spent on it will be returned to the joint budget only when project is completed.

    The European Commission official didn’t specify how much money the UK owes to the joint account, saying it’s not easy to calculate each state’s required contribution.

    Moreover, the source clarified that “outstanding commitments are not debt. No member state has outstanding debts to the EU budget.”

    Still the payments should be processed, if London decides to follow through with Brexit: “The Commission will not speculate about any implications on any future negotiations when Article 50 has not even been triggered.”

    The UK officials have declined to comment on the future of payments to the EU budget upon the departure from the bloc.

    "At every step, we will work to ensure the best possible deal for the British people. We are about to begin these negotiations and it would be wrong to set out unilateral positions in advance. Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a success of it.”

    According to the Guardian, the UK allocates £136 million weekly to the joint European budget. The country is expected to pay a total of £45.3 billion to the bloc in the period 2016-2020.

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    Brexit (262)

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