UK Economics

OUTRAGEOUS! EU says it’ll BLOCK Brexit unless we keep paying benefits abroad INDEFINITELY

EUROPEAN Union officials have threatened to block Brexit if the UK attempts to stop EU migrants sending benefits abroad.

The EU Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group laid out its red lines on what Britain can and cannot do after Brexit, including the issue of citizens’ rights.The group, headed by chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, said there must be no change to the current rules allowing state handouts to be sent overseas.

In a statement the group said: “On the export of benefits, we insist that this cannot be limited to pensions only, but should include all benefits defined in EU legislation.”

The UK currently pays out around £30million a year in child benefit to about 34,000 children living across the EU, mostly in Poland.David Cameron tried to scrap the payments as part of his failed renegotiation with Brussels before last year’s referendum.

The then-Prime Minister’s bid was rebuffed by EU leaders, but Eurosceptics had hoped Brexit would allow the rules to be changed.

Guy Verhofstadt and Theresa MayGETTY

The EU Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group threatened to block the UK’s departure

The Brexit Steering Group also urged Theresa May and Brexit Secretary David Davis to resolve “major issues” related to citizens’ rights.The group said its “most important concern” is the UK’s proposals to offer ‘settled status’ for EU citizens living in Britain.

And the group said the system can only be allowed to “enter into force after any transition period, if requested and agreed, has concluded”.

The group added: “We don’t recognise reports suggesting that a deal on citizens’ rights is almost finalised.”

Theresa MayGETTY

It also urged Theresa May to resolve ‘major issues’ related to citizens’ rights

Speaking to the Independent, Mr Verhofstadt attacked the Government’s latest announcement on citizens’ rights post-Brexit.He said: “EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU were told that nothing would change because of Brexit.

“The fact that the UK Government needs 25 paragraphs to explain how they lives will change proves this was a fabrication.

Flags outside European Parliament in StrasbourgGETTY

The UK pays £30m a year in child benefit to about 34,000 children across the EU

It is erroneous to say a deal is ‘within touching distance’

Guy Verhofstadt

“It’s hard to believe this proposed new system will be smooth and efficient.”The European Parliament remains deeply concerned about the lack of progress on citizens’ rights issues.

“It is erroneous to say a deal is ‘within touching distance’.”

Guy VerhofstadtGETTY

The EU Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group threatened to block the UK’s departure

And in a warning shot threatening Brexit, the Brexit Steering Group stressed how the withdrawal agreement depends on the European Parliament.In a veiled threat to block Brexit, the Group said: “For the European Parliament to approve the withdrawal agreement, the key principles and conditions in the resolution of 5 April, 2017 must be met.

“These principles were reiterated in another resolution, on the state of play of negotiations, voted on 3 October 2017.

“Any withdrawal agreement at the end of the UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.”

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