A top European Union official warned Tuesday the bloc will have to take urgent action to fill

A multi-billion-euro black hole will need to be filled fast in the event of no-deal Brexit with Britain, warned EU budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger.

Speaking after talks with European Union ministers on January 8, he said the EU would be “short a figure in the billions of euros for the rest of the year and a higher figure for 2020”.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Brexit deal struck in November between Britain and the Europeans sees London paying into the EU budget through to the end of 2020 during an agreed transition period.

But the ratification of this agreement by UK parliament, in a vote set for January 15, is far from assured given the bitter opposition by MPs both for and against Brexit.

A collapse of the deal would jeopardise the British payments to the European budget, of which the United Kingdom is a major net contributor.