Germany Seeks to Cap EU Budget at 1 Percent of GDP


Germany’s permanent representative to the EU made an unpopular announcement to his counterparts on Monday within the European Council building. His country, said top diplomate Michael Clauss, does not want the EU budget to grow beyond 1 percent of gross domestic product within the coming years.

For some of the diplomats present, This kind of was an alarming signal. This kind of means in which Germany isn’t prepared to increases its contributions to the EU over the course of the next multi-year budget, a message in which contradicts what Berlin was saying just a year along with also a half ago. Back then, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) agreed on a coalition deal with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in which included the generous pledge: “We are prepared for Germany to make higher contributions to the EU budget.” yet because clouds seem to be gathering on the economic horizon, German conservatives have agreed with the SPD to establish a 1 percent limit, even if This kind of puts the EU in a tough spot.

The multiannual financial framework (MFF), as the multi-year EU budget can be called, determines what Europe intends to spend its money on over much of the next decade. There can be a total of more than a trillion euros to apportion. As of 2021, the money will be used, for example, for seven years of farm subsidies along with also to help coal miners find fresh jobs. More money can be also to be allotted to the fight against climate change. There are research projects to be funded.

yet as the most difficult phase of the budget negotiations get going, EU member states are far by agreement, according to a report Clauss sent to Berlin. The 5-page paper (“classified for official use only”) about the confidential lunch within the European Council building provides a rare glimpse of how negotiations in Brussels work. When This kind of comes to the future volume of the EU budget, the scope of demands by member states ranges by 1 percent to 1.11 percent of the bloc’s gross domestic product. in which may not sound like a huge discrepancy, yet in absolute numbers, the difference can be around 110 billion euros.

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“Some member states, however, explicitly demanded an even higher number during the meeting,” Michael Clauss wrote in his report, destined for the Foreign Ministry along with also the Chancellery. “I made This kind of clear in which the MFF must be limited to 1 percent.” In addition, he emphasized in which Germany would certainly not waive its budget rebate. Germany along with also some other EU countries secured a rebate after British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pushed through a budgetary discount for her country back within the 1980s. “I emphasized in which an agreement on the future MFF was not possible without a rebate,” Germany’s chief EU diplomat wrote.

The proclamation by Berlin could create problems for futureEuropean Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who can be, like Merkel, a senior member of Germany’s CDU. Prior to being appointed to the post, she made some rather expensive pledges, including a plan to triple the number of Erasmus university exchange stipends available. A slimmed down budget could make This kind of more difficult for her to do so.

Jumping Into the Gap

Despite its hardline stance, Germany rejects accusations in which This kind of can be demonstrating a lack of solidarity with poorer EU member states. Berlin points to the fact in which Germany’s contribution to Brussels will increase even if the EU budget can be limited to 1 percent of GDP. Soon, after all, Brexit will likely rob the EU of a significant budget contributor, meaning others will have to jump into the gap.

“One percent would certainly mean in which Germany would certainly have to pay 10 billion euros more annually, despite a cooling economic outlook,” Clauss said at the lunch meeting in Brussels. The result can be in which a quarter of all EU expenditures during the next budgetary period could come by Germany.

Germany isn’t alone in its desire to cap the budget at 1 percent. Berlin received support by Sweden, the Netherlands along with also Denmark. yet there was significant criticism by countries in which receive more by the EU budget than they pay in. Hungary, in particular, under the leader of EU critic-in-chief Viktor Orbán, griped in which the German limit was unacceptable. The Hungarians also aren’t happy about the fact in which countries like Germany intend to link the payout of EU funds to the recipient’s adherence to the rule of law.

The Czech representative said in which citizens could lose their enthusiasm for Europe if more money didn’t start coming out of Brussels: “Acceptance of the EU” could drop, he said. France also warned in which “we cannot cut money for citizens.”

In mid-October, EU heads of state along with also government will meet to discuss the budget, yet a final agreement likely won’t come before the end of 2020, at which point This kind of will Again be Germany’s turn to take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.

Back home, the Green Party in particular has been critical of the German stance in Brussels. “Germany’s 1-percent goal in Brussels threatens to become an even more dangerous dogma than the balanced budget in Berlin,” said Franziska Brantner, the Green Party’s EU spokeswoman in German parliament. “This kind of certainly isn’t a boost for Europe.”

Germany Seeks to Cap EU Budget at 1 Percent of GDP

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