Prime Minister Theresa May is set to approve paying as much as 50 billion pounds ($64.8 billion) for leaving the European Union in a bid to kickstart trade talks, but won’t disclose details until after the Conservative Party conference in October, The Sunday Times reported, citing a source.
Britain would pay up to 17 billion pounds a year to Brussels for three years after Brexit before ending payments ahead of the 2022 general election, the Times added. The newspaper also said that May’s office "did not recognize" the plan on the payment.
How much the U.K. owes the EU in leaving the bloc is among the most difficult issues concerning Brexit, with analysts estimating that the EU will put forward a gross bill of as much as 100 billion euros. Britain’s government acknowledged in July that it will have a bill to pay, saying it wants to “determine a fair settlement of the U.K.’s rights and obligations.”
In a separate report, The Mail on Sunday reported that May has been advised that Britain may have to pay up to 46 billion pounds to break the deadlock of the Brexit talks.
Last week, the European Union’s negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the talks still had done nowhere near enough for there to be a prospect of moving on to trade discussions after October. The big sticking point is money: how much the U.K. is prepared to pay toward commitments the EU has made on the assumption of continued U.K. membership.