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Having been a net contributor for decades, the UK has assets in the EU. For example, shares in buildings and the European Investment Bank. Were these included in the £39 billion divorce bill?

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    How might they have been included? Why would they have been included? Will the UK be relinquishing any of these assets in connection with its departure from the EU?
    – phoog
    Nov 18 '18 at 16:36
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    So you're specifically asking about the implicit loss of their interest in assets that are held by the EU or related institutions in which the UK is ceasing to be a member? I say implicit because I don't think the members explicitly carry shares in these assets on their balance sheets, but maybe I'm wrong about that.
    – phoog
    Nov 18 '18 at 17:47
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    I don't know about the latest figure (the £39 billion) but shares in the EIB were certainly part of the negotiation (see independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/… and uk.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-eib-capital/…).
    – Relaxed
    Nov 18 '18 at 21:08
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    EU buildings are a different beast, they do not belong to the member states and the EU itself does not “belong” to member states in proportion to their net contributions over time so the UK does not really have a “share” in them. There is also no accounting of the long-term economic benefits that could be ascribed to this or that investment the EU funded in the UK or elsewhere. The discussion is about commitments to fund on-going programmes during the current “Multiannual Financial Framework”.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 18 '18 at 21:15
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    +1 to the question, even if the premise is a bit simplistic, I would be curious to know more about this.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 18 '18 at 21:15
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Wikipedia's page on the Brexit divorce bill has a section on UK assets. One of its sources is the UK's Office for Budget Responsibility, specifically this report titled Economic and fiscal outlook dated March 2018. The part about the financial settlement starts on page 17 of the report. The sentences about assets that drew my attention reads:

The remaining small fraction reflects pension liabilities less assets returned to the UK, such as our capital subscription at the European Investment Bank. Receipts and payments associated with these other elements of the settlement could extend for many years, although the precise modalities for meeting them have yet to be agreed.

A similar point is seen in the EU's report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government dated December 2017 which explains what is and isn't part of the financial settlement. That report has the following on assets (there's more in full document):

  1. The UK will contribute its share of the financing of the Union's liabilities incurred before 31 December 2020 except for liabilities with corresponding assets6 and any assets and liabilities which are related to the operation of the budget and the Own Resources Decision7.

Footnotes 6 and 7 read:

6 In this context, the following will not be included in the financial settlement: Union financial assistance loan assets and the associated balance sheet liabilities, and assets corresponding to property, plant and equipment and provisions related to the Joint Research Centre nuclear sites dismantlement, and all lease-related obligations and all provisions other than in respect of fines, legal cases and financial guarantee liabilities, intangible assets and inventories, any assets and liabilities relating to the management of foreign currency risk, accrued and deferred income.

7 Outstanding pre-financing advances, receivables, cash, payables, and accrued charges including those related to EAGF or already included in the budgetary RAL will not be included for the calculation of liabilities.


To your questions

Having been net contributors for decades, the UK has assets in the EU. For example shares in buildings and the European Investment Bank. Were these included in the £39 billion divorce bill?

The buildings, as explained in a previous comment, are not owned by the member states. The quote on the EIB from the UK report is a bit vague, the following point from the European report is clearer:

  1. In this context, the UK will provide a guarantee for an amount equal to its callable capital on the day of withdrawal. This guarantee will be decreased in line with the amortisation of the stock of EIB operations at the date of withdrawal, starting on the date on which the outstanding stock reaches an amount equal to the total subscribed capital on the date of withdrawal and ending on the date it equals the total paid-in capital on the date of withdrawal, both as defined in the EIB statute.

So if understand it correctly the UK's assets in the EIB will start at the current level on the withdrawal date and then slowly reduced to zero.

Note that none of this is yet agreed upon. And even if it were, the part about the EIB might change at the UK's request, again from the European report:

  1. The UK considers that there could be mutual benefit from a continuing arrangement between the UK and the EIB. The UK wishes to explore these possible arrangements in the second phase of the negotiations.

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