Wednesday

23rd May 2018

France and Germany cast doubt on EU budget deal

  • Merkel and Hollande want an EU budget deal, but say talks will be 'very difficult' (Photo: European Council)

The leaders of France and Germany have downplayed expectations that a deal will be reached this week on the EU budget for 2014-2020.

"We will do everything to find an agreement at the next summit, but conditions are not there yet," French President Francois Hollande told reporters on Sunday (3 February) alongside Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Monti, who visited Paris after a stop in Berlin earlier in the week, repeated his calls for a "fairer" deal, as his country is paying more into the common pot without having rebates like other big donors such as the UK or Germany.

Hollande's pessimism came just one day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel also cast doubt whether the bloc's 27 leaders will be able to agree on the €1 trillion budget on Thursday and Friday.

"We can not say yet if the talks will be successful, I only know they will be very difficult. But they are worth the effort," Merkel said in her weekly address.

She explained that the EU budget was important in order to make national budgets and recovery programmes more predictable.

A first attempt to reach a deal failed in November as the group of those advocating for cuts - including Germany - and the ones wanting more money were too far apart.

"We will do everything to reach a deal. Germany has of course its own interests, as the largest contributor, we want to see the funds used in a way that improves the competitiveness and performance of the EU. The measure for this competitiveness should be the best ones, because we need to keep up with others in the global world," Merkel said.

"Many think the EU is an expensive thing. But the funds we allocate to the EU are only one fifth of all national budgets taken together," she added.

Merkel on Monday is also due to receive the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, for consultations ahead of the EU summit.

A joint Franco-German position ahead of the summit is unlikely, even though Merkel will be travelling to Paris on Wednesday for talks with the French President on this topic.

Their biggest area of contention is the reform of the farming policy, of which France benefits the most.

EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos told Der Spiegel he is "surprised" at the "almost ideological opposition" of the German government against plans to make subsidies more directly linked to environmental measures.

Ciolos also said that despite Berlin's calls for "smart spending", the German government is opposing a cap on how much large companies can receive from the EU farm aid pot.

Agenda

EU budget talks to dominate this WEEK

EU leaders gather in Brussels at the end of the week for a second attempt to agree the bloc's budget framework for 2014-2020.

Hollande ready to compromise on EU budget

Francois Hollande is ready to accept a cut in the EU budget provided that it does not weaken the European economy and protects the poorest countries, the French President told MEPs.

EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption

EU trade chief said the US will impose tariffs or "other limiting measures" on 1 June, as the EU's offer to start limited trade talks is probably not enough for the protectionist Trump presidency.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

EU budget must not fortify Europe at expense of peace

Given the European Commission new budget's heavy focus on migration, border management and security, many are asking whether the proposal will fortify Europe at the expense of its peace commitments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. 'Killer robot' projects eligible for EU defence fund
  2. Funding for European values needs radical changes
  3. Feeble EU format deflates Zuckerberg 'hearing'
  4. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  5. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption
  6. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  7. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  8. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of advice to EU