The Italian government would “press on” if the European Commission gives the thumbs down to its 2019 budget, the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said.
“We consider ourselves to be working for the country’s growth, to give back faith, hope, energy and work,” Salvini continued after the government announced it would let the deficit-to-GDP ratio rise to 2.4% next year. “So I’m happy with what we’ve done over the last four months and what we will do over the next four years“, he concluded.
“We now propose a new instrument that will cover pretty much the whole world – it is called the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). It will be comprehensive in geographic and thematic terms. A few exceptions are, obviously, the candidate and potential candidate countries for membership to the European Union and the overseas countries and territories, but also humanitarian aid and, for legal reasons, nuclear safety” – the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, while presenting the new initiative.
“I will leave to the Commissioners to go more in detail on their respective fields of responsibility, but I would like to stress the fact that the single instrument approach will give us more coherence and more focus on policies” – Mogherini continued.
“It does not mean having less targeted policies towards certain regions or certain countries. On the contrary, we are proposing to increase the allocation of resources where our political priorities are and in particular our Neighbourhood, our region, Africa, the Western Balkans, climate change, migration, humanitarian aid and human rights and democracy. So the clear political priorities are defined and the allocation of money is reflecting these political priorities”.
The European Commission proposed a post-Brexit seven-year budget. Subsequently the initiative of its president Jean-Claude Juncker will trigger arguments among member states over how to mend the hole in the pocket left by the UK exit from the bloc next year.
“With today’s proposal we have put forward a pragmatic plan for how to do more with less,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.
During the 2021-27 period the plan suggests to reduce farm subsidies by 5% and proposes new plastics tax.
It would spend more on research and technology, foreign aid, eurozone stability, compensation for unemployment caused by free trade and on joint defense and EU outside borders .
It also introduces a new mechanism to penalize countries — notably from the former Soviet bloc — where governments increasingly disagree with a number of the EU rules, and policies, notably in dealing with migrant flows. The system of financial penalties, the experts say, could further fuel euroscepticism in the new member-states, especially concerned by the security situation caused by mass migration from countries with Islamic traditions.
In his remarks following the Informal meeting of the European leaders the president of the EU Council criticised the position of the UK government in Brexit talks, calling it an “illusion”.
The criticism came in absence of the UK Prime minister, who was not invited to the EU27 congregation. Some experts say Tusk’ reaction came as a frustration over the future bloc’s budget problems, which was discussed, and which clearly will request higher contributions from each member state. The move might provoke further growth of the euroscepticism.
“Time is money. Delays in agreeing would cost 5000 research jobs for every single month that we do not agree & up to 600,000 Erasmus places in 2021 alone. Would jeopardise crucial infrastructure projects & Ignalina nuclear power plant decommissioning” said president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker after the Informal Summit of the EU leaders in Brussels.
Portugal is convinced that member states should contribute more to the European Union’s budget and is proposing three new taxes to finance what will be a 27-strong bloc after Britain leaves it, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.
During his doorstep in Brussels before the start of an informal EU summit, Costa said Portugal supported the idea of a common EU tax on international financial transactions, also levies on digital platforms and companies that don’t respect environment.
“With less contributions (post-Brexit) every state should be ready to give more, just as Portugal is ready to contribute more to the EU,” Costa said, calling for member contributions to rise to 1.2 percent of gross national income from 1 percent now.
Some member states argue they should not pay more and the EU budget should be cut instead to compensate for Britain’s exit.
At the press-conference, concluding the Summit French President Emmanuel Macron also supported the idea of augmenting the budget of the EU after Brexit to make it relevant to challenges Europe faces.