×

France's economy minister tells Britain: "We want our money back"

PARIS, July 19 (Reuters) - French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday that Britain must pay what it owes to the European Union and it is a non-negotiable prerequisite for Brexit talks.

"I will say what Margaret Thatcher used to say: We want our money back," Le Maire said, answering questions from lawmakers in the economic affairs committee of the French parliament.

"We can always debate on the amount but on the fact that the United Kingdom must pay what it owes to the budget of the European Union, it is a non-negotiable prerequisite at the start of the (Brexit) discussions," Le Maire said.

The EU wants London to accept a bill to cover its share of EU spending commitments made while Britain was a member, an amount which Le Maire said could be up to 100 billion euros ($115 billion).

"The payment by the United Kingdom of its remainder ... is a non-negotiable prerequisite for any discussion of the future of our relations," he added. ($1 = 0.8685 euros) (Reporting by Yann Le Guernigou; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Alison Williams)