German finance minister warns UK could still be paying into EU 10 years after Brexit

Posted On: 
18th November 2016

Britain could be forced to continue paying into EU coffers for more than a decade after Brexit, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has warned.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble issued a chilling warning to Britain
PA Images

He made the comments as he set out a hard line approach to Britain's EU withdrawal negotiations that spells out bad news for Theresa May as she makes preparations for triggering Article 50 next spring.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Schäuble said the UK would be bound by tax rules after Brexit which would hold it back from granting incentives to encourage investors to stay in the country.

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And he warned that the exit bill for the UK could stretch as far as 2030, after EU proposals revealed by the same paper earlier this week suggested a €40bn- €60bn divorce settlement could be on the cards.

“Until the UK’s exit is complete, Britain will certainly have to fulfil its commitments,” Mr Schäuble said.

“Possibly there will be some commitments that last beyond the exit … even, in part, to 2030 … Also we cannot grant any generous rebates.”

He said the UK must prepare for financial firms to flee to European cities without the ability to 'passport' services abroad, and insisted there would be no special deal on migration if Britain wished to remain in the common market.

“There is no à la carte menu. There is only the whole menu or none,” he said.

“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.”

German chancellor Mrs Merkel earlier this week hinted she was open to discussing changes to freedom of movement rules in the wake of the vote for Brexit.