EU warns it could face €20bn funding black hole after Brexit
The European Union could face a €20bn funding gap after Britain leaves the bloc, a Brussels official revealed yesterday.
Britain currently pays approximately €10bn a year net, about 16% of the EU’s budget.
However, the amount needed from other revenues could be twice as much because of the need to spend more on defence and migration, EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said.
He warned that after Brexit, the EU would have to make “hard choices” and the gap in finances needed to be acknowledged.
Mr Oettinger suggested a number of ways to make up the shortfall, including reforming EU farm spending and asking for bigger contributions from member states.
“If Europe is to tackle new challenges, the money must come from somewhere,” Mr Oettinger wrote in a ‘reflection paper’ on the future of the EU’s finances.
“A large country will be departing. We need to look at shifting expenditures and making cuts.”
He added: “We won’t have the UK with us anymore, and they were net payers despite the Thatcher rebate, so we will have a gap of euros 10 billion-to-euros 11 billion a year.
“At the same time we need to finance new tasks such as defence, internal security… the total gap could therefore be up to twice as much.”
The document also warned other financial pressures could come from a multitude of different areas, including economic stagnation in Europe.
“Looking ahead, the challenges to the Union are multiplying at the same time as the pressure on European and national budgets increases.
“Sluggish productivity and investment, demographic change and other long-term challenges such as migration, climate change, defence, cyber-security and terrorism, are all areas where the EU budget is called upon to play a prominent role.”