BRUSSELS, Jan 9 — A top European Union official warned yesterday the bloc will have to take urgent action to fill a multi billion-euro black hole in the event of no-deal Brexit with Britain.
In the event of a “disorderly” departure by Britain on March 29, “we would be short a figure in the billions of euros for the rest of the year and a higher figure for 2020”, EU budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger said after talks with EU ministers.
According to the Brexit deal struck in November between Britain and the Europeans, London is expected to pay into the EU budget through to the end of 2020 during an agreed transition period.
But the ratification of this agreement by UK parliament, in a vote set for January 15, is far from assured given the bitter opposition by MPs both for and against Brexit.
A collapse of the deal would jeopardise the British payments to the European budget, of which the United Kingdom is a major net contributor.
With a sudden stop to the UK’s EU payments, spending commitments “would no longer be guaranteed, giving us less available amounts for the coming years”, Oettinger said.
“We would have to react immediately if something were to change,” he warned.
The shortfall will raise tensions within the remaining member states, with countries including Austria and the Netherlands already firmly opposed to increased national contributions.
In 2017, the UK’s net contribution was €5.3 billion (RM24.9 billion), according to EU data. — AFP