EU member states want the European Commission to cut at least 20%, or about €13 billion, of the proposed increase in the medium-term budget for 2024-2027.
Politico reported this quoted two unnamed European diplomats. In June, the European Commission asked for approval of 66 billion euros in additional spending to cover unforeseen expenses, arguing that the budget had been depleted by numerous crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
EU member states, however, want to reduce this amount by at least 20%, pointing out that the main burden of increased spending will fall on specific contributing countries (those who pay more to the EU budget than they receive from it).
According to the European Commission’s plan, the bulk of the additional EU funding, in addition to the €50 billion support for Ukraine (€17 billion in grants plus €33 billion in off-budget low-interest loans), will go to pay interest rates on post-pandemic loans (€18.9 billion) and migration agreements with third countries (€15 billion).
All EU countries, except Hungary, agree on the need to continue supporting Ukraine, but some are less willing to give Brussels additional money for other purposes.
For example, some EU members from Eastern and Northern Europe and Germany want the European Commission to finance new priorities by saving money from other areas of the current long-term budget (2021-2027).
According to Politico, Spain, which holds the EU Council presidency this half of the year, has proposed three plans to cut additional spending by 5, 10, and 20 billion euros. But it does not satisfy EU members from southern Europe, as it practically does not affect the agricultural fund and the EU cohesion fund, the two largest items of budget spending.
EU ambassadors are expected to continue discussing the issue until the European Council meeting in mid-December.
Hungary continues to block 500 million euros from the European Peace Fund that helps Ukraine with weapons. The EU countries are discussing the option of financing military aid for Ukraine with the participation of not all member states if the planned format through the European Peace Fund cannot be agreed upon.
The EU’s initial plan to provide €20 billion military aid to Ukraine over four years to pay for weapons and ammunition is at risk of falling through as some member states, including Germany, have been unable to agree on the terms, according to an EU diplomat, quoted by media. Instead, the EU member states hope to at least agree on €5 billion for next year, with commitments for further support after that.
Ukraine needs military and financial aid as it fights the Russian invasion and the war continues. Weapons supply help the Ukrainian Armed Forces repel Russian invading troops and push them out from the occupied territories.
Read more in our article: Will EU states approve €20 military aid plan for Ukraine?