BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union has threatened to prevent the United Kingdom from leaving the bloc if Britain fails to pay up a €20 billion bill.
The EU officials reportedly brought the UK under pressure to pay the money which they say is the UK’s share from the bloc’s €200 billion bills that have remained unpaid for years, the Daily Express reported Saturday.
“A deal with Britain is inconceivable if the British do not settle these liabilities,” the daily quoted an unnamed EU source as saying.
EU Commission lawyers have also warned the government of Prime Minister Theresa May that a failure to pay up would equal a debt default, according to reports.
According to the daily, the bloc is now striving to put the 27-remaining members in the way of a British exit.
On June 23, some 52 percent (17.4 million) of British people voted to leave the EU after 43 years of membership.
The vote result caused political turmoil in the country, where former Prime Minster David Cameron announced his resignation hours after the vote and as Prime Minister Theresa May was named as the new premier within a few weeks.
The vote has also sent economic shockwaves through Britain as well as global financial markets. The pound has slumped to a record low against the dollar.
Although May was a part of Remain campaign during the referendum, she vowed to honor the decision to leave the EU by the British public and repeatedly insisted “Brexit means Brexit.”
The premier, however, has admitted that she does not expect to trigger formal EU talks this year.