Brexit stitch-up: EU treats UK like ‘treasure trove’ while letting Germany off the hook

Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests way to avoid Brexit divorce bill

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Jayne Adye, director of the grass-roots, pro-Brexit campaign group Get Britain Out, writing in her weekly update, contrasted the EU’s treatment of Britain with that of Germany, whose car industry saw £1billion in fines waived by the European Commission earlier this week. Ms Adye was speaking after new figures published by the Commission put the total Britain owes at £40.8billion – with Downing Street publicly rejected the estimate.

She said: “This is an increase of nearly £2billion on the original estimates made by the UK Office for Budget Responsibility.

“What makes this hike in demands somehow worse though, is the fact we could all see it coming as soon as Theresa May conceded to paying a ‘Divorce Bill’ in the first place.

“The EU will continue to try and demand more and more money at every opportunity, with almost no logic behind their demands.”

The bill had been issued by the EU’s Court of Auditors, which Ms Adye accused of failing to audit the bloc’s accounts for decades, and of “ignoring swathes of errors” every year.

She asked: “How is this body authorised to try and demand billions more from the UK when they cannot even get their own accounts correct?

“It’s a fact the EU’s accounts have never ever been fully signed off, so why should we accept their auditors’ figures now, unless they go back 26 years to prove what they have already taken from us – and we have paid in good faith – is accurate?”

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Referring to Express.co.uk’s story on Friday, based on an report by the Facts4EU think tank, Ms Adye said: “To make this even more laughable, in the past 2 days the EU has both issued and then written off over €1.1billion in fines to German car manufacturers for breaches to emissions standards.

“This proves the EU clearly doesn’t need the money from the UK if they can afford to forgive and forget these debts to German companies.

“Or as is more likely, the EU continues to see the UK as their ‘Treasure Trove’ which can cough up more and more money whatever their demands.”

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As for the UK’s response, Ms Adye urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to challenge the EU’s figures and tell European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen she will not get a penny more than was originally agreed.

Ms Adye said: “This cannot be up for debate because as with so many other areas of negotiations with the EU, if we simply succumb to their demands, they will keep on trying the same tactics time and time again.

“This is UK taxpayers’ money and it should be spent on OUR priorities now, not paying for Federalist-inspired EU projects.”

Speaking yesterday, a Commission spokesman said: “We have already informed the UK Government about the payments that they have to do with regard to the first part of this year and they’ve already in fact paid part of the amount concerned.

“Therefore, we have absolutely no indications at this point in time that the bill, or the amount that we’ve calculated will be contested.”

However, referring to the £40.8billion total, a Number 10 spokesman said: “We don’t recognise that figure, it’s an estimate produced by the EU for its own internal accounting purposes.

“For example it doesn’t reflect all the money owed back to the UK which reduces the amount we pay.

“Our estimate remains in the central range of between £35-39bn and we will publish full details in Parliament shortly.”

As a result of the Brexit negotiations, a deal was struck whereby the UK will pay the EU a sum covering pension contributions for EU staff in addition to funding for three EU research programmes from 2021-27.

In turn the UK will get back roughly £3billion paid into the European Investment Bank, plus £50million which it had in the European Central Bank.

The UK will also get a share of any fines paid to the EU which were imposed before the end of last – a figure likely to add up to £1.2billion.

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