I spend probably an hour per week....reading over BREXIT news and talks. It's safe to say that this is probably the most divisive topic for journalists to cover right now. Every time you read some piece of news or speculation....you have to go back and research the 'facts' to see if they were slanted or biased.
Today, I asked the question....how much does the UK pay into the EU pot each year. The general sum (at least from 2016 numbers)....21 billion Euro.
How much comes back to the UK? Well, it's complicated.
There's about six billion Euro which comes back as some type of 'credit' or rebate. It would appear as some gift or as some left-over amount in the pot.
5.3 billion Euro comes back to the UK in the form of farm or agricultural subsidies, poor region 'gift' checks, and 'projects'. The poor region deal is generally supposed to be for poverty-stricken areas or inner city suburbs. Some of the money is spent on pubic housing renovation or construction, and some goes toward infrastructure projects. The 'projects' folder? It could be for airport construction, highway upgrades, etc.
Then you come to the pot of money which isn't readily discussed much.....research fund checks. If you are a university or public research organization....you could apply for a grant and get a sum of money for your project. There isn't that much in the public view, and so far....I haven't found a listing to say how much the UK gets back (it might be a billion.....it might be five or six billion).
So out of the 21 billion Euro, the odds are that five billion-plus Euro doesn't come back to the UK. It goes into the big pot of money to operate the EU headquarters, their salary requirements, and gets laid out for the poorer nations of the 28 members.
At this point, you sit and ponder upon the position of the EU. Here's one of the three top money-makers of the Union....leaving. There's a deficit of five-billion Euro on their table. From the prospective of the UK, there's five billion Euro more on their table.
The EU is in a tough spot....they've become this gift-giving organization, which helps to win praise from the poorer regions of Europe for giving out 'free-money'. There's five-billion less in the pot now for these poorer regions.
The discussion of the UK owing 100 billion Euro? Part of this sum revolves around EU deal to Turkey to hold back the refugees. No one from the EU has ever said when the deal stops or terminates....meaning that three billion Euro a year could continue on for decades (or until the war halts). The UK part to that deal is roughly 600 to 700 million Euro a year. The rest of the sum revolves around various long-term projects which the EU signed up to. Rather than openly discuss a lessening on the long-term projects....the intent of the EU is to force the UK to pay for projects.
The problem for the UK? If they refuse to play by this game, paying the EU some fair sum of the 100 billion Euro, then the trade opening into the EU could be a mess.
My humble belief is that the UK really doesn't intend to pay much on this 100 billion Euro sum that the EU dreamed up. There might be some deal where they'd pay ten billion Euro in cash, and maybe another five billion Euro a year for three years, but I seriously doubt that the EU is going to be happy about this situation.
Simply walking away without a treaty? Most every single EU politician or UK representative, or even the journalists covering this....say that a treaty must occur. I have my doubts that in two years....this ends up as a treaty. I think some paper will exist....called something less than a treaty, and it'll be obvious that the UK won't pay more than ten billion Euro.
Is the EU owed this money? Generally, if you pay some cash for a service....you get something in return. It's a simple principal. In this case, what exactly is the service that the EU is going to do for the UK? None of this discussed 100 billion Euro will come back to the UK....that's obvious. What kind of British idiot would pay cash for nothing? That's the real question to ask.
So we come to this one last issue. For over twenty years....the EU has continually been getting a fair chunk of money from the 28 members to 'gift' back to the public. Now, for the first time ever....there's a new reality....less money ought to mean less 'gift-money' back to the public. Can the bureaucrats in Brussels actually grasp that and trim their 'gift' dispersal plan by 10-percent? One might have doubts about that.