Brussels chief’s desperate letter to divided EU- ‘Most difficult negotiations we’ve done’

Brussels chief’s desperate letter to divided EU- ‘Most difficult negotiations we’ve done’

On Friday evening the Belgian leader called an emergency meeting between fellow leaders of member states to decide on the bloc’s budget for the next seven years. The extremely divisive issue has split the 27 countries due to ardent bickering over nations’ priorities and if course, Brexit. He said in the letter: “The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the Multiannual Financial Framework.”

This is a reference to the 2021-2027 joint budget.

He pleaded: “Any postponement would create serious practical and political problems and jeopardise the continuation of current programs and policies as well as the launch of new ones.“

He then urged all the countries to finally come together and compromise on the matter.

Britain’s withdrawal from the EU means there will be less cash to go around at the same time as the European Commission under new leader Ursula von der Leyen wants funding for tackling climate change and migration.

While the EU executive has proposed a budget of 1.11 percent of the gross national income of the 27 member states, the European Parliament is aiming for 1.3 percent, while some countries are pushing for no more than 1 percent.

It comes as civil war broke out last week over the matter of the budget when remaining member states were told to dig deep to cover Brexit Britain’s £39billion black hole after January 31.

Brexit has been the overriding topic of debate among the EU for the past three years, and many nations, particularly the French, are keen to put the matter behind them so that the EU can move on.

But before that can happen, the EU27 will need to agree their next long-term EU budget, which won’t be an easy task as many EU states are reluctant to foot the bill.

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She cited new duties, or taxes, levied at the EU’s external borders for “big polluters, importers of plastic that is not recycled” as well as importers of CO2-heavy products.

The UK is currently the third biggest contribution to the EU budget, forking out just under 12 percent of the total bill in 2018.

Germany’s share was the largest, contributing 20.78 percent, followed by France on 15.58 percent, according to Statistica.

The long term budget, that will determine spending from 2021-27, has been a sticking point for several months.

EU states cannot agree on the size of the budget, the volumes of the main policy areas, the revenue sources and the possibility to add new conditions and incentives for the disbursement of EU funds.

Last month a meeting was held between the EU leaders to discuss the budget, but agreement could not be reached.

Published at Sun, 26 Jan 2020 00:12:00 +0000