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UK could pay into EU for decade after Brexit, German minister warns

Published 18/11/2016

Germany's tough approach comes after French President Francois Hollande said in October that Britain must pay a price for severing its ties to the EU.
Germany's tough approach comes after French President Francois Hollande said in October that Britain must pay a price for severing its ties to the EU.

Britain faces paying into the European Union (EU) for more than a decade after it quits the bloc, Germany's finance minister has said.

The UK will still be bound by tax rules that stop it from incentivising investors to stay in the country and its commitments to Brussels will "last beyond exit", Wolfgang Schauble warned.

There will be no special deal to curb freedom of movement if the UK wants to remain part of the common market, he insisted.

Mr Schauble's hardline approach comes as Theresa May prepares to meet international leaders during a visit to Berlin.

Although Brexit is not on the agenda for the talks, the Prime Minister is likely to discuss the issue with European counterparts.

Germany's tough approach comes after French President Francois Hollande said in October that Britain must pay a price for severing its ties to Brussels.

Mr Schauble told the Financial Times: "Until the UK's exit is complete, Britain will certainly have to fulfil its commitments.

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

Mr Schauble said freedom of movement was a core part of the single market and changing the key principles of the bloc would hit financial services companies.

"There is no a la carte menu," he said. "There is only the whole menu or none.

"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."

Meanwhile, campaigners claimed that Britain faces paying nearly an extra £850 million into EU coffers if it remains part of the single market.

Brussels has "secretly" raised spending limits by £1 billion on the long-term budget that had been curbed after demands by former prime minister David Cameron in 2013, according to Change Britain.

It also claimed European Commission documents suggest payment ceilings in the financial plan, which runs to 2020, will be breached in its final two years.

The group, which was set up in the wake of the referendum to campaign on the terms of Britain's departure, said the UK could be left with a total additional bill of £845 million.

Mr Cameron, along with Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden, secured an agreement for real-terms cuts in the budget, known in Brussels jargon as the multi-annual financial framework (MFF), amid continuing austerity following the financial crash.

Change Britain said the UK must quit the single market when it leaves the EU on the current 2019 timetable to avoid being landed with extra bills.

It claims that remaining part of the trading agreement would leave the country "almost certainly" having to pay into the budget in the same way it does now.

Conservative Dominic Raab, one of its founding supporters, said: "EU politicians promised David Cameron that the EU would cut its budget.

"These figures show that eurocrats are now going back on their word and will ask for even more money from UK taxpayers if we stay in the EU's single market.

"Millions of people voted Leave on June 23 because they think that the EU costs us too much cash.

"Instead of sending more money abroad, people voted for that money to be spent here on our priorities like the NHS.

"People are fed up with being ripped off by Brussels. We now need to work to leave the EU as quickly as possible and take back control of our money."

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