European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said the United Kingdom should pay a Brexit bill of “at least €60 billion,” according to an interview published Monday.
The Italian said anything less than that and other EU countries would have to make up the shortfall in the bloc’s budget. “Why should Germans, Italians, Spaniards or the Dutch clear the bills of the British?” Tajani said, according to Funke media.
Tajani reiterated the EU’s position that negotiations could only move on to phase 2 if a framework for “the three most important aspects” was in place — the rights of EU nationals in the U.K., the Irish border and Britain’s compliance with its financial commitments.
“The problem is not us,” Tajani said in terms of a possible delay in the start of talks on a future trade agreement. “The EU speaks with one voice,” he said, adding that the “government in London has to fight many difficulties.”
“The British have to tell us which kind of relationship with the EU they want — if they desire the Norwegian model or the Swiss one. No one really knows this up to today,” he said, adding, “I think the majority of [British] citizens now see Brexit as a mistake.”
In the interview, Tajani also discussed French President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform the EU. He said Macron’s idea for a European finance minister was “good” but in his eyes that job should be “done by an EU commissioner.” Tajani also rejected calls for a separate eurozone budget and parliament.
Tajani also called for a substantial increase in the EU’s budget, saying €140 billion a year was not enough. “We will need twice as much as today,” he said, adding that a financial transaction tax would help raise some of the extra cash.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert reacted to Tajani’s call for an increased EU budget through a special tax by saying that “this topic is currently in no form on our daily agenda.”
Seibert added that dealing with the EU’s budget was “clearly ahead of us,” according to an AFP report.