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EU post-Brexit budget proposal under attack from many sides

by Ace Damon
EU post-Brexit budget proposal under attack from many sides

BRUSSELS (AP) – Several EU member states and the European Parliament rejected, for opposite reasons, the latest proposal to find a compromise in the European Union budget, starting a major summit fight later this week.

Following the latest proposals from EU summit host Charles Michel, the so-called four frugal countries of the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden said in a joint statement that they refuse to support the goal sought by Michel, arguing that with the UK leaving , "we simply have to cut our coat according to our fabric".

The four medium-sized nations wrote in a joint opinion article in the Financial Times Monday that currently "the financial burden of the union is increasingly being placed on the shoulders of a small number of member states, including ours".

At the same time, the European Parliament has criticized Michel's proposal for being insufficient to meet today's challenges, including climate change and geopolitical challenges. They maintained their position on Monday.

Only the EU Commission had kind words for Michel's latest proposal. "We believe it is a good starting point," said EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer, saying he has already slightly increased spending levels compared to the previous offer. "It is obvious that these negotiations are always very complicated."

Europe's coffers will shrink as Britain leaves in late January. But EU institutions have also set ambitious targets for spending on climate, the digital economy and research.

Michel's offer is about 240 billion euros ($ 260 billion) short of the demands of the European Parliament, which wants a budget of 1.3% of gross national income. The Frugal Four want to reach 1%.

The EU's powerful executive arm, the European Commission, has proposed that countries contribute 1.11% of gross national income. This would generate an overall budget of 1,135 trillion euros ($ 1.25 trillion) for the seven-year period.

EU money is used for a variety of purposes, from transport and energy policies to space programs, migration and border management, agricultural and security subsidies. Under the most recent offer, spending on agricultural subsidies would fall, which could upset France, one of the main beneficiaries.

Money destined to accelerate Europe's poorest regions with the rest of the bloc would also be reduced.

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