April 20, 2017

Demand exemption from EU exit fee

Demand exemption from EU exit fee

Figures revealed by Philip Hollobone MP in a Westminster Hall debate have lifted the lid on the astronomical costs of our EU membership. If anything, we should demand a refund, writes Rory Broomfield.

There were many reasons why the British people voted to leave the European Union last year – one of which was the huge amounts of money that we are forced to hand over to a set of institutions with unaudited accounts.

We had enough of bureaucrats, technocrats and other unelected individuals spending our cash on projects that we did not believe in.

Taking back control is one of the main things that the UK government should be focused as they go into negotiations with the EU. Yesterday in Parliament, Philip Hollobone MP illustrated exactly what we are talking about.

Citing the House of Commons Library, Mr Hollobone showed that the British taxpayer has paid over the past 44 years a net total, in real terms—in today’s money—of £184 billion to the EEC, EC and the EU. This is an astonishing amount – and it is due to rise to over £200 billion (£210 billion) by the time the UK has left the European Union.

This is important for two reasons:

  1. It illustrates that the UK, as a net contributor to the EU budget for 43 years, has invested vast sums into the running of the EU, their assets and institutions
  2. It demonstrates that, far from the UK having to pay an “exit fee” to leave the EU – we should be getting a refund.

Point two was made forcibly clear in the Westminster Hall debate. Philip Hollobone, the MP for Kettering and a long-time Eurosceptic and supporter of The Freedom Association, said:

“It is simply outrageous for any EU negotiator to demand that this country continues to pay to leave when we have contributed all that money, net, since we joined on 1 January 1973. I look to my hon. Friend the Minister, who is an excellent Minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, to be extremely robust when he negotiates our exit from that institution.”

Indeed, with the EU negotiators reportedly demanding a fee of up to €60 billion, the UK Government negotiators need to be trenchant in their resolve not to pay the EU a penny for leaving.

This is especially as, in a report by the House of Lords European Union Committee on “Brexit and the EU budget”, confirmed that a main source of the EU’s money grabbing desire is through other sources of funds such as the reste à liquider (RAL) and the European Investment Bank.

The rationale for any fee though was assessed and thoroughly rejected by the House of Lords Committee. Indeed, they went so far as to say, if no agreement was reached with the EU, “the UK would be subject to no enforceable obligation to make any financial contribution at all.”

Mr Hollobone concluded that, if we add up the €6 billion rebate, €10 billion from our share of the European Investment Bank, and €23 billion as our reasonable share of the assets, it comes to €36 billion potential assets coming our way against potential liabilities of €27.1 billion. He argues, like I do, that the EU needs to pay us.

This fact is especially important, not just because of the negotiations but because we are entering a General Election that will decide the course of the negotiations.

We are leaving the European Union. Article 50 has been invoked. However, the result on June 8th will either strengthen or diminish the UK’s ability to stand strong against the EU’s awful demands.

The British people should be clear about the path ahead. We can either put our faith in a global Britain or opt for Remoaners and those that wish to divide the United Kingdom. If we opt for the former, the UK can remain strong. If the latter, then I can only think of the cost that we will all pay.

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Rory Broomfield
Rory Broomfield
Rory Broomfield is Director of The Freedom Association and the Better Off Out campaign. He is an authority on the EU and has written a number of books including his latest, co-authored with Iain Murray, Cutting the Gordian Knot: A Roadmap for British Exit from the European Union. He has previously worked in the City of London and in Westminster for a number of Members of Parliament, including the current Prime Minister, Theresa May; the current Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady; and Sir Richard Shepherd.
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