A European Union (EU) without the United Kingdom appears to have a need for a couple of changes to adjust to a post-Brexit era. Part of these many adjustments is the first of many budget battles set to hit the now 27-nation group, courtesy of the reveal for the EU 2021 to 2027 budget.
The budget, adjusted as per the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, may be the source of tension between Europe’s richer and poorer countries. After all, it appears the former take on the bulk of contributions – and take less than they give out – while the latter rely on the same funding to help their own economies catch up. With an EU without the UK, just what exactly is at stake?
More Than Just Coffee: New Allocation, Cuts
Numbers state that the current EU budget, pegged at €1-trillion, £879-billion, or $1.2-trillion, allocated for 2014 to 2020 is around 1-percent of the then 28-nation group’s total gross national income (GNI). The Budget Commission states that this budget is equivalent to around 440-million citizens in the European Union buying a cup of coffee everyday.
These numbers, when spread, will be allocated into support for poorer regions (371.4-billion), agricultural funds (308.7-billion), research and training (142.1-billion), rural development (111.3-billion), administration (69.6-billion), globalization efforts (66.3-billion), and security (17.7-billion).
The new budget, unveiled by Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, said the many demands of the European Union will now need a budget of around 1.1-percent of the EU’s total GNI. This means an approximate budget of €1.28-trillion around seven years. This figure takes into account a 2-percent annual inflation forecast, as well as “current prices.”
Unfortunately, given Brexit, there’ll have to be cuts in various areas as well. As per current Brexit plans, the United Kingdom will no longer be contributing into the EU budget. This might leave a €12-14-billion hole in the budget.
This is also because the United Kingdom is one of the biggest contributors in the European Union. However, Brexit is not just the only tricky part of the equation.
Points Of Contention?
The lives and development of 443,575,691 EU members may depend on how lines are drawn in a few years. At the end of the day, the above proposed budget will still have to be agreed upon unanimously among the now 27-member blog.
As per the BBC, this means the Budget Commission will likely push this budget to be approved before the European Parliament elections in 2019. This also gives a years’ worth of opportunities for anti-EU politicians to potentially shake up other budget disputes.
Part of these is the pressure from countries such as Germany to tie part of the budget allocations to respect rule of law and democratic values among the European Union’s members. Points of contention are towards Poland and Hungary, who were accused of “undermining” the said factors when they refused to take in refugees and increasing the influence of their government towards courts and media. This is also compounded by the fact that there are now talks of holding back assistance funds if states now undermine judicial independence and free speech.
There are now potential lines to be drawn as well, as some countries such as Germany and France are prepared to increase their contributions, while others such as Netherlands and Finland aren’t. Meanwhile, Italy and Greece – the two states that have the most new immigrants – are also banking on bigger budget assistance to accommodate their needs.
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