New European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday she was worried about “severe cuts” in the draft EU budget for 2021-2027, expected to be one of the main items on the agenda of next week’s European summit.
Finland, rotating president of the EU Council of Ministers until the end of the year, put forward a new compromise proposal on Monday focused on the next budget programme (2021-2027).
“I am concerned about the severe cuts that are in this proposal” compared to the Commission’s original one, von der Leyen told the press, adding that strategic priorities could suffer, such as the surveillance of EU borders (Frontex), European defence, the digital transition and efforts to green the economy.
“It is time to cooperate to attain the objectives on which we all agree,” von der Leyen stressed, explaining that the Council’s strategic agenda and the Commission’s political orientations both go, broadly speaking, in the same direction, and this should be reflected in the budget negotiations.
She said she expected an agreement in early 2020 at the Council, which would then have to negotiate a joint position with the European Parliament.
The Finnish proposal sets the European budget at 1.07% of the Gross National Product (GNP) of the 27-member EU, whereas the Commission had proposed 1.114%. Countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Austria would like to do as much with less and proposed a contribution of 1.0% of GNP.