Sunday

27th May 2018

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).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

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