Budget chief linked £39bn divorce bill to UK retaining beneficial relationship with bloc

A UK government led by Boris Johnson could not be dragged through the courts if it refused to pay the country’s multibillion-pound Brexit bill, the EU’s German budget chief has admitted, but Britain’s economy, security and universities would be made to suffer.

Günther Oettinger, European commissioner for the EU’s finances, linked the settling of Britain’s debts as agreed by Theresa May to Brussels’ approach to the prospects of the country retaining any kind of beneficial relationship with the bloc.

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