UK Brexit Minister David Davis has said that Britain will not pay £40 billion (€45.17 billion) to the European Union as it leaves the bloc.
According to a Brussels source, Britain was prepared to pay such an amount, however, Davis told BBC television that “they sort of made that up.”
“I’m not going to do an actual number on air, it would be ridiculous to do that, but we have a fairly clear idea where we’re going on this,” he said.
EU claims for Britain to contribute to the bloc’s future pension pot, he said, are “debatable to say the least.”
“The last time we went through line by line and challenged quite a lot of the legal basis of these things and we’ll continue to do that.”
According to an August 2016 report by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the UK expressed its willingness to pay up to 40 billion euros to the bloc as it wanted considerable progress on settling Britain’s liabilities before Brexit talks resumed.
The report added that Britain would pay that amount to settle its accounts only if the EU considered it as part of a deal for future trading arrangements.
On Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May set out her plan for future ties with the bloc in an attempt to break the deadlock in Brexit negotiations.
Britain’s rules and regulations will diverge from those set by the European Union after Brexit, according to Davis.
“We start at the same position, but we will manage the divergence,” the Brexit secretary told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, in an interview recorded Saturday.
“Of course we will diverge, we will do things our own way.”
Marr asked: “There are those who say we need to stick near to EU regulation. And others say we need to strike out on our own. Where are you on that spectrum?”
“Bang in the middle,” David replied, but he said “Yes” when asked if British rules would branch off from EU rules after Brexit.
Davis also conceded that the U.K. would pay around £10 billion a year to the EU up to 2019. However, he rejected claims the final settlement could be higher, saying: “Things like pensions and other things, these are debatable to say the least.
“The last time we went through line by line and challenged quite a lot of the legal basis of these things and we’ll continue to do that. That doesn’t mean that we want to see our allies and friends in Europe massively disadvantaged in the next few years and that’s what we’re aiming not to do.”
Asked about claims that the final settlement could be around £40 billion, Davis said that was “sort of made … up.
“I’m not going to do an actual number on air, it would be ridiculous to do that, but we have a fairly clear idea where we’re going on this.”
The next round of Brexit negotiations gets underway in Brussels on Monday.