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EU must pay more, get less to fill Brexit budget gap, official warns

Europe
14.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Brussels (dpa) - EU member states will have to spend more money or lower the bloc‘s ambitions in order to make up for a budget shortfall left from Britain‘s departure from the European Union, the bloc‘s senior budget official warned Wednesday.

"Brexit is a game changer," EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said, noting that additional funding would also be required for new priorities such as dealing with migration, terrorism and external border controls.

"I cannot perform sorcery," the commissioner added.

The EU is gearing up for negotiations on its spending plans for the decade after 2020. The talks are traditionally among the most fraught in Brussels, and Brexit will leave an estimated annual budget shortfall of 12-14 billion euros (14.8-17.3 billion dollars).

The commission presented a "menu" of options on Wednesday.

For example, it said that comprehensive measures to protect the EU‘s external borders would cost the bloc around 150 billion euros over seven years, while maintaining the present system, which includes a crisis intervention force, would cost just 8 billion euros.

The EU budget has previously been capped at around 1 per cent of the bloc‘s economic output. The current seven-year budget totals around 1 billion euros.

But expenditure will need to rise above 1.1 per cent of gross national income for the EU to be serious about its ambitions, Oettinger warned.

EU leaders are due to hold initial budget talks at an informal summit on February 23.

"Let‘s first discuss about the Europe we want. Then, member states must back their ambition up with the money to match," said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

 

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