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Failure to Reach Brexit Bill Deal Could Cause Cross-Border Disruption

No fee, no win: Britain must pay up before leaving the EU or risk serious disruption to air travel and trade.

Disruption to air travel and trade could be on the cards for Britain if it refuses to pay an exit fee for leaving the European Union (EU), the Daily Mail reports. It could cost the country up to £50 billion ($62.6 billion) to exit the trading bloc.

But both lawyers for the UK government and a report issued by the country’s House of Lords have said that Britain is not required to pay anything to the EU after its formal departure from the bloc.

While Prime Minister Theresa May has nixed the idea of paying large amounts of cash to the 27-member government, British ministers, reports the paper “accept they could end up making some form of payment in return for continued access to services we wish to remain a member of.”

It has been posed that the British government will not pay for costs great than £3 billion ($3.75 billion). However, Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for the EU, said that the failure to reach a deal may mean the reintroduction of customs controls, air traffic disruption, supply problems and uncertainty for UK and EU nationals on both sides of the border.

However, Barnier has sought to clarify that any cost is not a punishment for Britain’s departure from the bloc. “When a country leaves the union, there is no punishment. There is no price to pay to leave. But we must settle the accounts,” he explained.

“We will not ask the British to pay a single euro for something they have not agreed to as a member,” Barnier added.

“In the same way, the 27 [members of the EU] will also honor their commitments concerning the United Kingdom, its citizens, companies and regions. This is the mutually responsible way to act,” he said.

Barnier also cautioned that, “The issues at play are complex, whether they are residency rights, access to the labor market, pension or social security rights, or access to education. We will not leave any detail untouched […] We must do serious legal work on this with the United Kingdom.”

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