Several member states have asked the EU to demand the upfront payment to include post-Brexit farming and administration fees in 2019 and 2020, when the UK finalises its departure, massively inflating the final sum.
The figure, reported by the Financial Times, would mark a significant blow to Britain’s negotiating team at a time when relationships between the UK and Brussels are already strained.
Oliver Letwin sets out to find ‘early wins’ for post-Brexit regulators
Departments urged to keep focus on new EU legislation
Whitehall must assess impact of Brexit without a trade deal, say MPs
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Theresa May was "deluding herself" after a Downing Street dinner last week, while the prime minister yesterday vowed to be a “bloody difficult woman” in the Brexit talks.
The commission’s lead negotiator Michel Barnier has previously hinted that no figure will be set until talks have finished, but that the bloc intends to outline what they see as Britain’s liabilities.
According to the Financial Times, France and Poland have pushed for an additional €10bn-€15bn worth of farm payments, while Germany is said to be against granting Britain a share of EU assets such as buildings.
Furthermore, they add that upfront payment for contingent guarantees and loans to countries such as Ukraine and Portugal will be demanded, with the UK being reimbursed as the loans are repaid.
The FT add that the final gross sum could vary between €80bn and 100bn, while the net total could range between €55bn-€75bn over a period of a decade or more as loans are repaid and Britain receives its final payments from the bloc.
The new figures follow claims by a Commission spokesman in The Times that talks will be conducted with the UK solely by Barnier, despite the Prime Minister’s reported preference to involve the leaders of the 27 countries.
Asked if there would be any direct negotiation between May and the other member states on the divorce settlement, the spokesman said: “No. The commission is the union negotiator and Michel Barnier is the person who will negotiate on behalf of the EU. We are very clear about that.”