Published On: Wed, Dec 4th, 2019

EU civil war: VDL lashes out as ‘severe cuts’ in Finnish budget plan | World | News

The German said the recent financing proposal by Finland, who hold the EU’s rotating presidency, sheds a light on the vast differences between the European Council, Commission and Parliament’s desires for the budget. She claimed she was concerned about the “severe cuts” proposed for the bloc’s long-term budget from 2021. The EU Commission wants the next budget to be made up of 1.11 percent of the bloc’s entire Gross National Income.

But in a clash, Helsinki insisted that figure should be capped at 1.07 percent, with significant cuts made to cohesion and agricultural spending.

Mrs von der Leyen said: “The paper prepared by the Finnish presidency for the European Council demonstrates how difficult the negotiations on the MFF are.

“And in that they demonstrate the pervasive differences among the member states, the proposal of the Commission but also the idea of the proposals of the European Parliament.”

Parliamentarians wanted spending to be increased to 1.3 percent of GNI, whereas Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark have called for a more frugal approach of one percent.

Mrs von der Leyen added: “I am concerned about the severe cuts that are in this proposal compared to the Commission proposal.

Severe cuts in policies pursuing key objectives for the strategic agenda, which are affected by these cuts. For example; Frontex, defence and digital funds for greening out economy.”

Under the Finnish plan, there would be deep cuts to EU cohesion funds, which are designed help create financial parity between the bloc’s poorest and richest countries.

Helsinki has proposed slashing cohesion spending by 12 percent compared to the current MFF, which is due to expire at the end of 2020 – the Commission only put forward a 10 percent cut.

The EU’s vast spending on agriculture would also be reduced by 13 percent, less than the 15 percent suggested by the Commission.

Finland has asked EU countries to increase spending on new areas, such as research and border controls, by 37 percent.

This would mean the bloc is spending more on its new priorities, 32.8 percent of the budget, compares to 30.7 percent for agriculture and 29.7 percent on cohesion.

Explaining the proposals, Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s European affairs minister, said:“We had to cut cohesion – our number is smaller than the Commission proposal in absolute figures.

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Mrs von der Leyen wants to use next week’s European Council summit to encourage leaders to commit to concluding MFF talks by early next year.

“I think the negotiations should be taken forward by President Michel… with the view that we reach an agreement early next year,” she said.

She added: “I want to discuss this with my peers in the European Council next week and I think it is time we work to gather to ensure we can deliver on the objectives that we have all agreed on together.

“They’re going in the same direction. This has to be reflected in the MFF negotiation box.”

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