Saturday

16th Nov 2019

Baltic states demand bigger EU budget

  • Baltic states are seeking bigger EU payouts to their farmers (Photo: Visit Estonia)

Baltic state leaders want to expand the EU budget after Britain leaves the European Union – and possibly create "new own resources".

The prime ministers of Estonia and Latvia, and the president of Lithuania, say the EU budget, also known as the multi-annual financial framework, should be above 1 percent of the EU-27's (without the UK) gross national income (GNI).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Lithuania's president Grybauskaite (c) handed the joint letter over to EU council chief Donald Tusk (Photo: nato.int)

"We are prepared to discuss ways to maintain the level of the current multi-annual financial framework, even after Brexit, by increased contributions and possibly new own resources to the EU budget," they said in a signed joint letter on Thursday (15 February).

Estonia's prime minister, Juri Ratas, Latvia's prime minister, Maris Kucinskis, and Lithuania's president, Dalia Grybauskaite, also say no cuts should be made to research, innovation and youth policy.

They also want higher direct payments from the EU budget to their farmers, noting that "they remain considerably below the EU average".

The letter comes ahead of broader discussions among EU leaders and heads of state at a summit set for 23 February.

It also follows announcements made earlier this week by the EU budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger to increase the seven-year budget above 1 percent of GNI.

"With Brexit and other changes upcoming, 1.0 will not be enough," Oettinger said.

The European Commission's final proposal will not be out until the start of May.

Response to Brexit

The budget debates are set to dovetail into ideas about Europe's future direction, as first outlined in Bratislava in 2016 and then again in Rome last March.

The Bratislava talks kicked off when the UK decided to leave the EU and amid a rise of nationalist populism, posing existential questions for the remaining 27 EU states.

At the time, the 27 EU states pledged to "find common solutions" on divisive issues such as migration and security.

Almost two years later, outstanding and divisive issues like migration remain, since the EU states are yet to find any common solution to the broader asylum and refugee debate.

The current budget discussions are instead seeking to shore up border security, with proposals that could see up to €150 billion set out for a full EU border management system.

Magazine

The asylum files: deadlock and dead-ends

The EU is reforming a number of internal asylum laws, but lack of staff, politics, and the sheer complexity of the bills means deadlines - like those announced by EU council chief Tusk - are likely to come and go.

EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate

EU-27 leaders will meet on Friday to draw up battle lines and possible fields of compromise over the EU's next seven-year budget - the first one after the UK leaves the bloc.

The key budget issues on EU leaders' table

As EU leaders gather on Friday to start discussing the future of the EU's spending after the UK leaves, major battle lines are already emerging among member states. Here is a look at the key issues.

Opinion

The Baltic 'Big Sea' strategy

The Baltic Sea is almost an inland European lake - it borders Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kaliningrad and Russia. It also has an EU strategy - and an action plan.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan politicians extradition hearing postponed
  2. Germany: EU banking union deal possible in December
  3. EIB: no more funding of fossil-fuel projects
  4. UK defence chief: Russia could trigger World War III
  5. Hungary's Varhelyi will face more questions
  6. Police put former Berlusconi MEP Comi under house arrest
  7. MEPs criticise Poland for criminalising sex education
  8. UK will not name new commissioner before election

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. Key moments for new commission This WEEK
  2. EU threatens legal action against UK over commissioner
  3. Corruption in the Balkans: the elephant in the room
  4. Green MEPs unconvinced by Romanian commissioner
  5. EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors
  6. Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban
  7. Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act
  8. Leftist MEPs call on EU to address crisis in Chile

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us