EU’s new £2.2TN package turns any extension of Transition Period into a shocker.

Graham Charles Lear
6 min readMay 30, 2020

This week a set of announcements from the EU made the UK’s full departure this year a necessity. The news also leaves opposition leaders Ian Blackford (SNP) and Sir Ed Davey (LibDems) with some serious questions to answer.

On Wednesday in Brussels, the EU Commission unveiled its financial plans for the EU for the next seven-year budget cycle. These plans show at least some of the massive costs which would be incurred by the United Kingdom, were the British Government to agree to extend the Transition Period beyond the end of this year.

The EU Commission’s proposed new budgets

Three safety nets of €540 billion in loans, already agreed by EU Parliament and Council

New recovery instrument, called Next Generation EU — worth €750 billion

Revamped EU budget of €157 billion per year for seven years

TOTA. €2.4 trillion (approx £2.2 TRILLION GBP) over the next seven years

The impact on the UK if the opposition parties got their way

Here is what this could mean for the UK’s finances, if the SNP, LibDems, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Alliance, and Greens succeeded in getting the Transition Period extended. Looking solely at the new EU budget and the “Next Generation EU” rescue package, the calculation of the UK’s potential liability to the EU is:-

Approx £120 billion GBP
(Based on the UK’s historic average of paying 12.5% of the EU’s bills.)

Leaders of six opposition parties would open up the UK to this massive extra bill from the EU

These Six minority party leaders signed the letter to Michel Barnier

They lead parties accounting for just 19.5% of the electorate

None of the party leaders representing 80.5% of the electorate signed the letter

Most readers will know that the leaders of several minor opposition parties at Westminster — all of whom are anti-Brexit and who are pictured above — wrote to Michel Barnier last week, requesting a two-year extension. He replied saying the EU would agree.

The letter to Monsieur Barnier was signed by the SNP leader Ian Blackford, acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville Roberts, Green MP Caroline Lucas, Stephen Farry, MP from the Alliance Party, and fellow Northern Ireland MP and leader of the SDLP at Westminster, Colum Eastwood.

Monsieur Barnier replied,

In the United Kingdom General Election of December 2019 — only six months ago — the combined votes for the six parties who signed the letter to Michel Barnier barely made it over six million. They represented only 19.5% of the voters and have 66 MPs out of a total of 650 in the House of Commons.

The calculations cover the two years of the extension to the Transition Period requested by the SNP’s Ian Blackford, the LibDem’s Ed Davey, and their colleagues from other parties. I have only included the usual EU budget contributions and the liability for the EU’s proposed “Next Generation EU” €750 billion rescue package.

Whilst a third of the rescue package is supposedly a loan, the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says payments “will be channelled through the European budget. And this will limit each country’s contribution according to a fixed formula.” In other words, it seems that recipient countries will be expected to pay back according to their net contributions, and 17 of the EU27 countries do not contribute in net terms at all. Whether any recipient countries ever do pay back these loans is a big question.

It is worth reminding the opposition leaders that the EU would be highly unlikely to agree to a continuation of the UK’s large rebate as it stands. This means that the UK’s contributions to the annual budget could increase substantially. It should also be stated that when the UK voted to leave the EU, the EU held the UK responsible for all possible future payments for projects which had been envisaged but had not even remotely started. This is one of the reasons that the disastrous £39 billion “divorce bill” was so high.

For these and other reasons based on five years of daily, detailed study of the EU, l believe that opposition leaders should be ready to justify to the British public an overall extra bill from the EU of more than the magnitude l have indicated.

Finally, and for comparison purposes, the Centre for Brexit Policy recently published its own report on the costs of extending the Transition Period. Their report concluded that extending for two years beyond 31 December 2020 — as the smaller opposition parties want — would cost the UK £378 billion. And this was BEFORE the EU announced its proposals last week for increased funds

To reiterate, the calculation of an extra liability of £120 billion to the EU is only based on a very conservative estimate of the usual annual contributions, plus the liability for the EU’s new rescue package.

The anti-democratic antics of these MPs, colluding with a foreign power against the policies of the democratically-elected Government of the United Kingdom, have attracted significant criticism.

In addition, my opinion is that Monsieur Barnier’s reply last week constituted interference in the sovereign affairs of the United Kingdom — the EU’s most powerful economic neighbour.

Send the bill to the headquarters of all the smaller parties

Above I have revealed one part of the huge cost which these opposition MPs wish to impose on the British people. Have they remotely thought this through? Have they even begun to tell the voters just how much more of people’s hard-earned money they would be committing to spend?

For these politicians, the Coronavirus is merely another excuse to try to thwart Brexit. They don’t care about the added period of economic uncertainty they would cause. They don’t care about the democratically-expressed decision of the British people. They simply want to stop Brexit at all costs.

he Government must press firmly ahead with Brexit next week

When David Frost and his UK negotiating team go in to bat against Michel Barnier and his Eureaucrats in the fourth round of the trade talks next week, I hope they will do so knowing that a great many British people are behind them.

Boris Johnson has made it perfectly clear that the Transition Period will not be extended. He even encapsulated this into law. David Frost has repeated this clear policy, as recently as this week. I suggest that Monsieur Barnier stops clutching at straws — and at straw men and women from smaller UK parties which are nowhere near the reins of power.

Mr Barnier should tell his masters and mistresses in the EU27’s capitals that the EU will have to back down across the board if he is to get a trade deal with the United Kingdom.

Sources: EU Parliament | EU Commission | SNP and LibDem social media feeds

--

--

Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.