Tuesday 11 December 2018

EU proposes bigger budget to fund new priorities post-Brexit

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the 2021-2027 budget will be bigger than the preceding one in order to determine the future of the bloc.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the bigger budget would help shape a post-Brexit future for the EU (AP)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the bigger budget would help shape a post-Brexit future for the EU (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

The European Union’s executive branch has proposed a budget to finance new priorities like defence and border control as well as compensating for Britain’s departure from the bloc.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the 2021-2027 budget will be “bigger than the preceding one, because it will determine the future of our Europe of 27” members.

The Commission unveiled a seven-year spending package worth 1.135 trillion euro (just under £1 trillion), which accounts for around 1.1% of the bloc’s total output.

Agricultural funding and “cohesion funds” that help raise the infrastructure standards of poorer states are both to be cut by around 5%.

The Commission is also seeking powers to suspend or restrict funding to countries whose rule of law standards might pose financial risks.

The German government said the proposal provided a good basis for the beginning of negotiations on the future of the EU’s finances.

In a joint statement, German foreign minister Heiko Maas and finance minister Olaf Scholz noted that the proposal would “considerably increase” the financial burden on Germany.

They said that under the proposals, Germany would need to pay an average of up to 10 billion euro (£8.7 billion) more per year from 2021.

“We are willing to fulfil our responsibilities for strengthening the European Union, but this also requires a fair burden-sharing of all member states,” the pair said.

In the upcoming discussions which are likely to take months, they added that Germany will push to “sustainably strengthen the European Union’s capability for action over the next seven years” and enforce a “fundamental modernisation” of EU spending.

Among other priorities, Germany is looking for better protection for the EU’s external borders and increased cooperation in joint defense policy.

Press Association

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