THE European Commission President has admitted Brexit will leave a massive hole in the EU budget – more than £11BILLION – and urged member-states to step up to fund the ever-expanding European project. Jean-Claude Juncker outlined his vision for the future of the EU budget after Britain leaves the bloc – and announced
member-states will inevitably have to pay more to Brussels. Speaking at a conference detailing the bloc’s next seven-year budget, the European Commission President said Brexit will leave the EU with a massive financial hole of around £11bn.
He said the current EU budget – which is one percent of Europe’s GDP – is not enough “to fund the major ambitions of Europe, like the joint European defence policy”. Mr Juncker took time to praise the progress on the EU defence fund as a
development “we never thought would see the light of day”. Before discussing Brexit’s hit on EU finances, he reiterated his belief that Britain’s departure would definitely happen, contrary to claims the referendum could be overturned. He said:
“Don’t believe those who say that Brexit is not going to happen and that people have realised their error in the UK. I don’t think that’s going to be the case.” Mr Juncker turned to Europe’s finances and told the audience: “We need to find a means of
reacting to a loss of significant billions of euros when a net contributor goes. “Nobody wants to give more or lose out, but it’s very difficult when a net contributor leaves us.” Mr Juncker said that while some policies may be modernised and savings
could be made, “all that we want to do cannot be funded from just one percent of Europe’s wealth”. He avoided clarifying the final amount – pointing out that this may not be agreed upon until the end of May. The European Commission President also
took a dig at Germany, suggesting that Berlin had fuelled an unhelpful debate over net contributors and net beneficiaries of the EU budget. He explained: “We all are net beneficiaries so we should put an end to that debate about who’s a net contributor.”