How much does the UK owe the EU

It’s a complete nightmare trying to work out the current contributions to the EU budget by the UK and money spent in the UK from the EU budget. The question of payments to the EU arises yet again as all sorts of figures are being bandied about regarding the price demanded by the EU for payment by the UK, in order to leave the EU – a leaving tax if you like.

The deadlock over the price to be paid is being used by the EU to block discussions on a future trading relationship (although Article 50 does state …. the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union).

The payment could also be interpreted as the cost of buying a trade deal with the EU.

In order to work out how much (if anything) the UK should pay the EU in order to leave the EU it is again necessary to look at current payments to and from the EU. I noticed an interesting interpretation of the contributions broken down on a country by country basis provided by the EU Parliament using actual data from 2015.

We think it is important that EU taxpayers have a clear view of how EU money is spent and where it comes from. This tool has been designed to show this. It will help you to better understand the EU’s long-term budget, also known as the Multiannual Financial Framework, and how the situation in your country compares to the rest of the EU.

The figures are taken from the European Commission financial report for 2015

How much did the UK contribute to the EU Budget ?

How much did the EU spend in the UK ?

From this data, does it appear that the net amount paid to the EU was in fact around 21 billion Euro in 2015?

In 2015 the UK contributed €18.21 billion to the EU budget (after a rebate of €6.08 billion) and also collected €4.27 billion in customs and farm trade duties on the EU’s behalf, of which it retained 25%, as an administrative fee

There is more information regarding the “Exit Bill” in a Research Briefing from the House of Commons library available from

with the full report at (pdf)