Will the UK still make payments to the EU after Brexit?

Polish flag © włodi
© włodi

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has warned that the UK must pay for access to the single market following Brexit.

Speaking to the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Morawiecki said that he wanted Poland to maintain a positive relationship with the UK. However, he expressed a hope that Britain would continue making financial contributions to the EU in exchange for single market access.

Morawiecki explained: “There has to be some price for full access and to what extent this access is going to be available has to be made dependent on … this financial contribution.” He stressed that any payments in exchange for access should not be seen as a punishment for the UK deciding to leave the EU. Instead, they would offer Britain a deal similar to those of Norway and Switzerland. Both countries have bilateral trade agreements with the EU but are not member states.

“I think these are examples of how the new agreement can be shaped so that there is … a real integration between the UK and the EU, despite Brexit,” Morawiecki said. He added that while he respects the UK’s decision to vote for Brexit, his ultimate hope is that the country will remain in the EU in some capacity.

What have British MPs said?

The UK’s secretary of state for exiting the EU, David Davis, has previously insisted that Britain would make no more payments to the bloc following Brexit. He has also compared the idea of ongoing payments to a tax.

However, Liam Fox, the secretary for international trade, responded to Morawiecki’s comments, saying that compromise is inevitable. “What we are looking at is a balance. The UK will want access … particularly [to] financial services. The European Union will want access to Britain’s goods market.”

He continued that no opening positions are final in a trade agreement, and that both the EU and the UK would have to offer something in order to reach an agreement.

The UK is currently a net contributor to the EU, meaning that it pays more than it receives. Therefore, many European politicians want to see the UK continue to make contributions after it leaves. Poland is a net recipient of the EU, and could see its payments fall when the UK leaves.

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