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EU leaders put together for battle over post-Brexit finances

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders staked out opposing positions on the dimensions and goals of the bloc’s finances on Friday forward of powerful negotiations to cope with a gap in Brussels’ funds created by Britain’s deliberate departure subsequent yr.

In the summit debate, all EU states besides Britain are anticipated to say whether or not they comply with improve the 2021-2027 finances to pay for brand spanking new frequent insurance policies on safety, defence and migration, at a time when Brexit will slash revenues to the frequent pot by 10-12 billion euros (Eight.Eight-10.5 billion kilos) a yr.

“I think we want to have new priorities, new policies, future-oriented policies, and if we cannot reduce to the right extent old policies then countries have to pay more,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker mentioned on arrival.

The government Commission needs the finances to extend to 1.1-1.2 p.c of EU gross nationwide revenue from 1.zero p.c now. It has proposed protecting the hole left by Brexit with a mixture of spending cuts and new sources of income.

But the 27 international locations that can stay within the EU when Britain leaves are deeply divided over the proposal and officers don’t anticipate any settlement on Friday.

The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden – all of them web contributors to the finances – are most adamant in rejecting any improve in financing. All have been allies of Britain in pushing by way of a reduce in EU funding the final time the seven-year finances was set.

“I think we are already paying quite a bit,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte advised reporters earlier than the summit. “So no increase, modernise. Britain is leaving so that part needs to be removed from the budget.”

Finland and Belgium sympathise with that view.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel sits between French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel throughout a dinner with European Union leaders at Val Duchesse fort in Brussels, Belgium, February 22, 2018. Chancellerie du Premier ministre/Belgian Prime Minister Office/Handout by way of REUTERS

CONDITIONALITY

But the Commission’s name for extra money is more likely to get a sympathetic ear in Germany, already the most important web contributor to the EU finances and ready to pay much more. Italy and France, the following greatest web contributors, are additionally prepared to extend funds, albeit with sure situations.

The three greatest EU international locations additionally wish to hyperlink EU funds to poorer jap European international locations to their respecting the rule of regulation and European “solidarity” – diplomatic jargon for sharing the burden of accepting migrants.

Poland, Hungary and others have resisted strain to soak up refugees from the Middle East or Africa, angering Germany, Italy and Sweden who have to cope with the majority of the inflows alone.

The richer EU international locations are additionally apprehensive that nationalist-minded governments in Poland, Hungary and Romania don’t respect the rule of regulation and EU values, undermining the independence of the judiciary and basic rights.

The Commission has opened a proper process in opposition to Poland to look at whether or not it’s complying with its personal structure.

“It is quite obvious that we need some conditionality,” Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen advised reporters when requested if EU cash from the following finances ought to be linked to observing the rule of regulation and accepting migrants.

“If you are a member of the European Union you are a full member, which comes with rights and obligations.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, whose nation is the most important beneficiary of EU funds, mentioned: “We want (policies) that have so far worked well for Poland… to be continued.”

Additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Gareth Jones

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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