Published On: Thu, Oct 31st, 2019

EU budget row escalates: Brussels concedes no decision this year | World | News

EU budget supremo Gunther Oettinger last night warned that there will be no deal on the bloc’s 2021-2027 by December. Eurocrats have become embroiled in a bitter row over rich member states facing significant hikes to their budget contributions. Mr Oettinger told reporters: “I think there’s going to be progress up to December, but no agreement in December.

“If President Tusk is unable to reach a conclusion, then it’s going to be impossible for the new president to do this in the first few weeks when he is in office.”

Former Belgian prime minister Charles Michel will replace Donald Tusk as the European Council’s president on December 1.

The bloc’s next budget commissioner Johannes Hahn has previously said he expects a deal by the end of the winter.

Germany faces its payments into the Brussels budgetary coffers being doubled by 2027, according to government estimates.

Its contribution would increase from £13 billion in 2020 to a staggering £28.5 billion by the end of the next seven-year budget.

Mr Oettinger described the figures as “misleading” during a furious press conference.

The seething eurocrat blast: “I have no idea what your sources are but they are working with figures that are not misleading but a lie.”

According to the European Commission’s own proposal, Germany’s contribution will not exceed £20 billion in 2027, he added.

The Netherlands also faces huge increases, by as much as 75 percent, to £11 billion at the end of the period, the country’s finance ministry predicts.

The Commission has proposed plugging at least half of the £10 billion blackhole left in the Brussels budget left by the UK after Brexit.

Under the plans, the remaining 27 member states will be expected to hand over 1.11 percent of gross national income to the EU executive.

Net contributors Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands have all called for contributions to be limited to just one percent.

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The budget boss also insisted wealthy EU countries benefit indirectly from a whole host of projects, such as funding to help refugees in Turkey, border defences and the bloc’s space programme.

Brussels insiders have predicted that the bloc will have to begin making “tough decisions” on the budget by June 2020.

Germany’s Angela Merkel has suggested she could block any budget deal that strips her country of a hefty rebate.

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