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EU Council President calls for special summit on the bloc's budget

EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ
President of the European Council Charles Michel arrives for the second day of the European Council summit in Brussels, Belgium, 13 December 2019.

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In a letter sent to EU leaders on Saturday, European Council President Charles Michel has called for an emergency EU summit to be held on 20 February, in an effort to resolve the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget stalemate.
Michel urged EU Heads of State and Prime Ministers to “demonstrate a spirit of compromise,” during negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), as any further delay “would create serious practical and political problems” for both past and future budget efforts.
EU leaders will gather for the first time after UK’s departure from the bloc scheduled on 31 January. Brexit will mark the loss EU’s second biggest economy and one of the major contributors to the bloc’s long-term budget.
MFF negotiations have long been in a stalemate as member states are divided over which policy areas should be prioritised and the percentage of gross national income (GNI) they will have to pay out.
The €200 million proposed cuts by the Finnish Council Presidency are expected to hit the areas of defence and climate, and thus, were slammed by the European Commission, which is seeking an increased spending to tackle climate change and migration.
To become the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050, the EU will attempt to mobilise €1 trillion over a 10-year period, to finance its flagship policy, the Green Deal, half of which would come from EU’s long-term budget.
While the Finnish Council Presidency proposed a 1.08% GNI budget and the EU Commission a budget equal to 1.1% GNI, the European Parliament is asking for a budget of at least 1.3% GNI, supporting that the EC proposal is insufficient to achieve its policy targets.
Similarly, several countries with Germany on the lead, are asking for a reduced budget of 1% GNI, while others, the so-called “Friends of Cohesion” are seeking an increased budget spending to safeguard the Cohesion Policy.
 
 

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