Friday

3rd Jul 2020

EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration

  • Polish EU Council president Donald Tusk (l) and Poland's PM Mateusz Morawiecki (r) discussed 'conditionality' at the EU summit (Photo: Council of the European Union)

EU leaders agreed on Friday (23 February) to spend more on defence, security and "stemming illegal migration" in the next long-term budget, European Council chief Donald Tusk said.

After leaders held their preliminary discussion of the first post-Brexit budget, Tusk told reporters that many European heads of government were ready to contribute more money to the next budget cycle, that runs 2021-27.

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

"All the leaders approached [the budget] with open minds, rather than red lines," he stated.

Tusk however said that the EU Commission's ambitious deadline for reaching an agreement by the end of this year seemed "really difficult".

The EU executive wants to conclude talks by the next European elections in May 2019, however, haggling over the budget usually takes more than two years.

Germany's Angela Merkel said the debate was "constructive", and said leaders will decide how fast to move with agreeing to the EU budget after the commission's proposal will be published in May.

The German chancellor also warned cuts will have to be made to "bureaucratic" policies, like agriculture.

One of the countries that does not want to pay more after the UK leaves the EU, the Netherlands' PM Mark Rutte, said the bloc needs to modernise and reform existing programs to finds more money.

"We, in any case, do not want our contribution to rise," he said.

Conditionality

EU leaders also discussed the possibility of linking EU funds to migration and respecting the rule of law.

Donald Tusk told reporters the discussion was less toxic than many had speculated in the run up to the summit.

Member states that benefit from cohesion funds earlier warned against using EU money aimed for reducing economic differences across the EU for integrating migrants or for punishing countries that breach EU rules.

After the discussions Tusk said that he had only heard "positive reactions", and that the concept was not questioned by any leader who spoke.

Tusk said that Poland's premier Mateusz Morawiecki also said he was ready to support conditionality, adding that it should be built a very objective criteria.

"The possible conditionality was less controversial than expected," Tusk said - adding that the debate at this point was very general.

France's president Emmanuel Macron had a strong warning to those who infringe EU values, something Poland had been accused of by the commission.

"It would be matter of good sense to halt the payment of some [EU] funds where is there is a breach of our values," Macron said.

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.

Baltic states demand bigger EU budget

The leaders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania say in a joint letter that they are open to talks on creating "new own resources" for a bigger EU budget after the UK leaves the EU.

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.

Analysis

Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget

The Commission wants the next EU budget to prove the bloc has survived Brexit unscathed. However, some net payers disagree. The EU executive plans to put out an overall budget figure of 1.13 to 1.18 percent of EU GNI.

MEP in police protection after Czech PM calls him 'traitor'

Three MEPs received numerous death threats in the Czech Republic for asking questions about how EU funds are being spent. One of them had his entire family under police protection after people threatened to murder his four children.

Black MEP: 'I have been a victim of police violence'

MEPs urged an end to structural racism and discrimination in Europe and the US, following the brutal killing of black American George Floyd by US police. Socialists and Green MEPs stressed the need to unblock the anti-discrimination directive.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us