Alexander Stubb, Finland’s ex-prime minister, said Britain had just £3billion locked away in the institution – just a third of what experts in the UK had suggested
Britain could be forced to wait 30 years to get its money out of the European Investment Bank and pay in £30billion for failed projects, the bank’s vice president claimed today.
Alexander Stubb, Finland’s ex-prime minister, said Britain had just £3billion locked away in the institution – just a third of what experts in the UK had suggested.
And he claimed that because of joint investments by all 28 EU countries, it would not be until 2054 that Britain could both withdraw cash and be free of commitments.
Mr Stubb said this was because they were long term investments and an economic downturn could see loans made by the bank and underwritten by member states defaulted.
The cash is in addition to the £20billion Theresa May suggested Britain would pay to settle its existing EU budget contributions in the Florence speech.
Negotiations over money are at the heart of the impasse which had deadlocked the Brexit talks.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘I have a British heart pumping, I am married to a Brit, my children have dual nationality and I think Brexit is one of the biggest travesties that we have seen in the modern era.
‘So I will do everything in my power to alleviate the pain, but the economic facts are just such that there are no winners in Brexit – apart from perhaps a few lawyers.
‘Unfortunately, we will see this in the coming years.’
Mr Stubb added: ‘No one in the EIB is out to punish the UK, actually we are out to alleviate the pain.’
He said the UK’s ‘paid-in capital’ to the EIB amounted to around £3 billion (3.5 billion euro), along with around £30 billion (35 billion euro) of uncalled capital.
The European Investment Bank is one of hundreds of negotiating points on the plate of Brexit Secretary David Davis in his talks with Brussels
Mr Stubb said: ‘Everyone on both sides of the negotiating table agree that we have to pay back the 3.5 billion euro, basically in cash, and that will happen over a long period, up until 2054, because that’s when the loans are amortised.’
The UK has a 16 per cent stake in the Luxembourg-based bank lends money to support projects from major infrastructure developments to small firms in order to support EU policy goals, but that will end with Brexit.
Asked about concerns that lending to the UK was being hit with delays despite still being in the EU, Mr Stubb said financial investments in the UK in 2016 amounted to around £7 billion (eight billion euro).
That figure would be lower in 2017 and 2018 in part because of the ‘uncertainty of Brexit’ and the guarantees required by the EIB as a result of the decision to quit the EU.
‘The investment curve in the UK right now shows downwards because of the insecurities and uncertainties of Brexit, and that’s just a fact,’ he said.
People were ‘a little bit afraid’ of the economic consequences ‘and that’s why we are not getting the requests’ for loans.