Monday

12th Apr 2021

Magazine

New EU budget draft seeks cuts in farm aid, cohesion

  • Farm subsidies are taking the biggest cut in the new budget proposal (Photo: caese)

New member states and France are set to lose most from a fresh EU budget proposal slashing €75 billion from proposed 2014-2020 spending, but Britain still wants more cuts or it will veto the deal at a summit next week.

Drafted by EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy, the new "negotiating box" seeks cuts in almost all areas, with farm subsidies - which France benefits from the most - slashed by €21.5 billion compared to the initial EU commission proposal of €1 trillion overall for the seven-year period.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Funds for infrastructure and enterprises to help eastern member states to catch up with the West - so-called cohesion policy - is also set to receive €17 billion less than planned.

Neither French nor Polish diplomats were happy about the draft.

"It is clearly not what we wanted," one source told this website. Paris has already slammed a previous compromise tabled by the Cypriot EU presidency, which had sought smaller cuts in farm subsidies.

For his part, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is currently busy shuttling between Brussels and Berlin in his bid to make the case for the "Friends of cohesion" - a group of countries benefiting the most from regional spending.

"Germany as a net payer has clearly a different view than Poland and the Friends of cohesion, but we have always been able to find common ground," Tusk said on Wednesday (14 November) at a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Germany wants big cuts, but Poland says these cuts should be more balanced, to protect this growth mechanism that is cohesion policy," he added.

Merkel said she is willing to seek a compromise next week and warned that having no deal on the seven-year budget would damage EU credibility.

"Even if we are net payers, it is not our goal not to have a deal. We will do our best to reach an agreement, one that is fair for everyone," she said.

A German government spokesman earlier in the day welcomed the Van Rompuy text.

"It is a good thing to have compromise proposals, we are now in the hot phase ahead of the summit and we all have an interest in reaching a deal next week," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a press conference.

The current proposal is closer to what Germany first had in mind - €120 billion less than what the commission tabled.

"I think in the end we'll get a deal on cuts of around €100 billion," one Cypriot diplomat told this website. Asked why Cyprus earlier proposal only went called for cuts of €50 billion, he replied it was "negotiating tactics."

"The key to the deal is Britain," the source added.

As for British sensitivities, the draft goes nowhere near what would be acceptable for Prime Minister David Cameron not to use his veto.

"We think it's still too high and the cuts don't go far enough. It will be difficult to get a deal," a British source said.

Sweden has also said it is unhappy with the proposal, which seeks to reduce the Swedish rebate by some €25 million while leaving Britain's multi-billion-euro rebate untouched.

Opinion

EU budget: Don't cut the left arm to save the right

EU citizens will be the biggest losers of the power struggle on the Union's budget for 2014-2020, as any cuts will stifle growth and jobs, write MEPs Joseph Daul and Reimer Boege.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey blames EU for sexist protocol fiasco
  2. France to close elite civil-service academy
  3. Covid-19 cases in UK drop 60%, study finds
  4. White House urges 'calm' after Northern Ireland riots
  5. Italy's Draghi calls Turkey's Erdoğan a 'dictator'
  6. Slovakia told to return Sputnik V amid quality row
  7. EU risks €87bn in stranded fossil fuel assets
  8. Obligatory vaccination not against human rights, European court says

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. The Covid bell tolls for eastern Europe's populists
  2. Four deaths after taking Russian Sputnik V vaccine
  3. Post-Brexit riots flare up in Northern Ireland
  4. Advice on AstraZeneca varies across EU, amid blood clot fears
  5. Greenland election could see halt to rare-earth mining
  6. After 50 years, where do Roma rights stand now?
  7. Why Iran desperately wants a new nuclear deal
  8. Does new EU-ACP deal really 'decolonise' aid?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us