Brexit Negotiations Costs

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)

UPDATE 05 October 2018

The figures are taken from the European Commission financial report for 2016

How much did the UK contribute to the EU Budget ?

How much did the EU spend in the UK ?


Rights and Obligations of EU membership

A paper was published by the Government on 14th April 2016, which sets out the main Rights and Obligations arising from the UK’s membership of the European Union.

“This paper aims to set out the main rights and obligations arising from the UK’s membership of the EU. It is not exhaustive and does not seek to cover every right and obligation arising under EU law. Instead, it aims to provide a balanced overview of the most important rights and obligations”

The paper contains a wealth of information outlining the interaction between the UK and the EU.

Here is a brief summary of the main points extracted from the document ( the original consists of almost 100 pages).

Detailed information on each of these topics is provided in  the full document.

The paper is available  at:

The EU’s Institutions

The EU has a number of institutions involved in taking decisions and making EU laws that apply to the UK. The UK is represented in, or able to nominate members to, all of them. The EU can only make laws within the rules set out in the EU Treaties. These provide different mechanisms for agreeing different types of laws. The UK has a say and promotes the UK’s national interest. Some core principles govern how EU law applies in the UK and in other Member States. But the UK has also negotiated a number of exceptions that give it a special position within the EU.

EU laws

The EU Treaties form the highest level of EU law. They define where the EU is permitted to act, to what extent and how. They also contain a mixture of procedural rules for how the EU operates and substantive rules, such as the requirement that Member States ensure a right to equal pay for men and women. The Treaties set out subject areas in which the EU can make more specific laws, known as the EU’s ‘competences’.Below this, the EU adopts directives, regulations and decisions using the powers set out in the EU Treaties. Directives set out a legal framework that the Member States have to follow, but leave it up to the Member State to choose exactly how to make it part of their law. So once an EU Directive has been agreed, all Member States have an obligation to make national laws that give it effect, but they have a choice as to precisely how to do so. Regulations contain detailed legal rules. Once made, regulations have the force of law in the UK and throughout the EU. Regulations only rarely require the Member States to create their own legal rules in order to ensure the regulation has the desired legal effect.The EU can adopt binding decisions. For example, the Commission has powers to issue decisions that are binding in order to enforce competition rules. Below this, the EU also adopts legislation in order to supplement and amend, or to implement, the rules set out in directives or regulations. Such pieces of legislation are referred to respectively as ‘delegated’ and ‘implementing’ acts.

The EU Budget System

The current EU budget system has a cycle of seven years. The total amount of money available over this period has to be agreed unanimously by all 28 Member States, so the UK, like other Member States, has a veto. The UK has a permanent rebate on its annual contribution (in the form of an upfront reduction to our gross contribution) to the EU budget, unlike any other EU Member State.

Joining and Leaving the EU

European countries can apply to join the EU but the process is complex and lengthy. Each existing EU Member State has a veto over any new country joining, as well as a veto over the pace of negotiations and the terms on which it joins. Any Member State can leave the EU.

EU Benefits General Info

EU Topics and Policies

The EU has an interest and/or influence in many different areas, from Human Rights to Transport and Trade.

Useful links describing their activities in these areas are provided by the EU.

If you want to know what the EU is doing in these areas use the following links as a starting point.

Detail on policies on various subjects are available at

Also check information on the work of the EU Commission in their Departments (Directorates-General) and services provided on the EU web-site at