Luxembourg PM tells UK: We want our money back

Posted On: 
30th July 2017

The prime minister of Luxembourg has said the UK must pay what it owes in the Brexit divorce bill.

Xavier Bettel pictured at a European Council meeting in June
Credit: 
PA

The final bill to cover Britain’s outstanding commitments when it leaves the bloc is set to be a major sticking point in the negotiations and the calculations must be agreed before talks on a future trade agreement can begin.

Some estimates have put the final sum in the region of £50bn while others have reached £80bn.

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Xavier Bettel said:”It is now time for the European Union to make an analogy with the famous quote of Mrs Thatcher, “We want our money back.”’

The then British prime minister won a £4bn year rebate in 1984.

Mr Bettel told The Mail on Sunday: “Concerning the exit bill, it is important to underline that the British Government took this commitment in the past and needs to honour it. It is not a penalty. The sum ranges between £36 billion and £54 billion.”

He also attacked the Foreign Secretary over his comments the EU could “go whistle” if it wants a big financial settlement. 

He said Boris Johnson was “bragging” over having his cake and eating it too. 

“‘It is not possible to have your cake and eat it too – Boris Johnson knows that,’

Mr Bettel warned Britain might over discover how bad life was outside the EU after it left, claiming there is already evidence some voters “regretted the result of the referendum”.

He also said the Government's insistence it wanted a “deep and special” relationship with the EU, despite quitting, was “confusing”.