BRUSSELS chiefs face a desperate and lengthy battle with EU member governments as they count the financial cost of the UK leaving the bloc as the Netherlands became the latest member to refuse to pay more to plug the budget blackhole left by Brexit.
By – Rebecca perring
Jean-Claude Juncker has ordered EU nations to prop-up the ailing bloc in the wake of the UK’s departure by raising their contributions to 1 per cent of GDP.
European budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger revealed the EU faces an £11billion shortfall due to Brexit, which forms part of an overall £18billion budget blackhole caused by other crises including migration.
The Netherlands is not the only member nation to come out against coughing up higher contributions – Austria, Sweden and Denmark have also expressed concerns.
But the message from the Hague’s government papers is clear, reading: “The Netherlands can not accept increasing its gross contribution to the EU budget.
The Netherlands can not accept increasing its gross contribution to the EU budget
“A smaller EU means a smaller EU budget. In addition, new priorities need to be funded from the savings of existing programmes.”
Holland argues countries on the west coast of Europe, including the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark and Spain will already be hit in the pocket by Britain’s decision to unshackle itself from the bloc.
The act of defiance show the cracks starting emerge in the 27-member bloc, who have put on a united front in Brexit talks.
Mr Juncker said an increase in EU budget contributions was equivalent to a cup of coffee per day per citizen.
During a conference in Brussels last year, Mr Juncker said: “I think Europe is worth more than one cup of coffee a day.”
The Netherlands is one of the EU countries keen on a securing a good trade deal with the UK post-Brexit due to the crucial commercial trade ties between both countries.
On Friday, an informal Summit of Heads of State and Government will take place where European Council President Donald Tusk will set out plans to move forward with the bloc’s budget.
Meanwhile, in November a bombshell report revealed Germany would have to increase funding to around a third – from €15 billion in 2015 to around €20 billion once the UK leaves.
The damning report recorded the true cost of Brexit for Brussels with Germany set to become the world’s largest cash machine in a bid to prop-up the ailing bloc.
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Read more: From 2018/02/17