Warsaw, Poland. With the talks now dragging on for two years of Brexit negotiations, Poland looks more at risk for a costly divorce between the UK and European Union than anywhere else.
Poland is the biggest recipient of EU aid and is also Europe’s largest provider of cross-border labor. Operations are expanding rapidly at Olsztyn-Mazury airport in northeast Poland. There are two weekly flights, both to the UK, which are booked up all summer and almost full for winter.
Rebuilt using 121 million zloty ($31 million) of EU cash, the airport revolves around the needs of almost 1 million Poles working in Britain, and is viewed as a showcase project for what the EU does right in modern Europe. Not only are projects like this now in doubt, there’s also going to be less money as the EU loses its biggest contributor after Germany.
The perfect storm of Brexit could hardly have come at a worse time for the country. Poland’s nationalist government is increasingly isolated in Brussels after trying to oust EU President Donald Tusk, a former Polish premier. At the same time, the country relies on EU investments to prevent the economy from collapsing.
But when it comes to promises, Germany wants the UK to commit to pay its bills to the EU, according to officials familiar with the Berlin government’s strategy. The European Commission says British obligations are as high as €60 billion, a figure the government in London disputes and has not intention of paying.