EU leaders to clash over post-Brexit budget as farm payments face cuts
European Union leaders will lay down the first markers on Friday on the size and aims of the bloc’s next long-term budget, as a large hole in its finances begins to take shape with next year’s departure of one of its main net contributors.
All EU states except Britain are to say in a summit debate whether they agree to increase the 2021-2027 budget to pay for new common policies on security, defence and migration, at a time when Brexit will slash revenues to the common pot by 10-12 billion euros ($12.3-14.8 billion) a year.
“We need a new start for Europe,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, adding the budget discussion could lead to some major changes.
“The debate about the future financial framework is also a chance to look at the finances of the EU as a whole,” she said.
The European Commission wants the budget to increase to 1.1-1.2 percent of EU GDP from 1.0 percent now and has proposed covering the gap left by Brexit with a mix of spending cuts and new sources of revenue.
With the 27 states divided going into the debate, officials do not expect any agreement on that tentative proposal on Friday.
It is likely get a sympathetic ear in Germany, already the biggest net contributor to the EU budget and prepared to pay even more.
Italy and France, the next biggest net contributors, are also ready to increase payments, albeit with certain conditions.