Sunday

7th Jun 2020

Juncker pushes for bigger post-Brexit EU budget

  • Juncker argued for levelling disparities within the EU, but insisted the continent would not be a place where there was "free beer" for all (Photo: European Commission)

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called on Monday (8 January) for the EU-27 to pay more money into the bloc's joint long-term budget, after the UK leaves a gap in the common finances following Brexit.

Juncker said the EU's next budget from 2020 onwards should be more than one percent of the continent's GDP.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

"We need more than one percent of GDP if we are to pursue EU policies and fund them adequately," he told an audience at a conference in Brussels.

Juncker pointed to new areas where the EU has to increase its common spending, such as migration, defence, internal and external security.

The current so-called 'multi-annual financial framework' is just under one percent of the GNI (gross national income), the first long-term EU budget that was smaller than the previous one after then UK prime minister David Cameron strongly pushed for tighter common expenses .

Juncker also warned however that the hole the UK punches in the post-2020 budget should not be filled in by substantially cutting existing EU policies such as cohesion funds or the common agriculture policy, which make up more than 50 percent of the budget.

"I am not in favour of drastic cuts in the cohesion policy sector, it is still important, not only for the countries benefitting, but for the others too," Juncker said, adding that disparities between income and living standards across the EU should be levelled.

He added however that both policies would have to be modernised and said financial discipline should not become loose.

"I'm not at all in favour of Europe becoming the place where it is free beer for everybody," he quipped.

However, he argued, EU citizens all over Europe could afford to spend more on common policies.

Price of a coffee

"It costs one cup of coffee a day for an EU citizen. I think Europe is more than a cup of coffee a day," Juncker pointed out.

Earlier estimates suggested that Brexit will leave a shortfall of €10.2 billion per year in the budget.

Juncker also said EU member states should adopt the new budget before the European elections in the spring of 2019. The EU commission is expected to unveil its budget proposal in May.

The previous budget talks for the 2014-2020 period took almost 18 months and several EU summits to conclude.

Budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger later added at the same event that EU countries should agree on a compromise at their summit in Sibiu, Romania on 9 May 2019.

Oettinger backed up his boss on cohesion funds, saying there is a need for "intelligent transfers" in the EU.

He pointed out that cohesion funds – money flowing from richer EU countries to poorer neighbours – are investments that also profit the net contributor countries.

"Money finds its way back to Germany industry," Oettinger, himself German, pointed out as an example.

He said a "sensible" cut of 5-10 percent to cohesion funds is possible.

Oettinger however argued that "extra new money" is needed to deal with migration, funding the EU's borders, and finance development in the countries where migrants arrive from.

"If you want to finance migration by cutting cohesion, you are going to split the EU family," Oettinger warned.

EU mulls post-Brexit budget options

EU seeks novel ways to plug a Brexit-based budget hole of up to €11 billion, but income from fines, such as the one on Google, cannot be relied on.

UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit

The EU Commission says extra revenue generated from a new visa-free travel scheme, to launch in 2020, would go to the EU budget, reducing member state contributions.

Interview

Poland ready to be EU budget net contributor

Poland would accept increasing its contribution, but will oppose any politicisation of EU funds, says its deputy minister of economic development.

Tying EU funds to politics could be double-edged

EU taxpayer money to countries challenging EU core values? The answer might seem obvious, but not to those on the receiving end of the EU subsidies, who argue that most of the money trickles back.

Commission reveals plastic tax to cover Brexit budget hole

The Commission plans a new plastic tax, and to pocket income from the emission trading scheme, for the next EU budget. It is also studying whether there are legal grounds to link EU funds to the rule of law issue.

Juncker to speak out on post-Juncker EU

The European Commission chief is to call on EU leaders to increase the EU budget after 2020 and choose his successor through the "Spitzenkandidat" process.

News in Brief

  1. Poland accused of 'blatant violation' of EU court injunction
  2. EU concerned by US approach to Kosovo and Serbia
  3. City morgues cast doubt on Putin's virus data
  4. ECB increases pandemic stimulus to €1.35 trillion
  5. New EU cloud computing platform 'moonshot'
  6. City of Berlin passes anti-discrimination law
  7. Iran hits record corona cases in second wave
  8. EU job losses tell tale of pandemic damage

This is the (finally) approved European Commission

MEPs gave the green light to the entire new European Commission during the plenary session in Strasbourg - but with the abstention of the Greens and a rejection by the leftist group GUE/NGL.

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration
  2. Internal EU borders open by 15 June - bar V4, Portugal, Spain
  3. CAP 'failed to halt biodiversity loss', auditors find
  4. After Covid-19, deserted Venice struggles to survive
  5. Commission plans strategy to 'maximise' vaccine access
  6. How spies use women to steal EU secrets
  7. Hong Kong - when the Chinese Dream became a nightmare
  8. Right of reply: Letter from the Hungarian government

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us