The technical proposal for the 2021-2027 EU budget, presented by the European Commission, is a provocation and unanimously rejected by the cohesion countries, said Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, who resigned and is dealing with current business only, at the end of the two-day budget summit where no progress was made.
Slovenian PM blamed the “frugal four” for the failure – the net contributors who want to cut the budget and are not ambitious enough, the PM believes. “Because of them, negotiations have stalled and we witnessed postponing the plenary session all day,” he said.
The four net contributors, who insist that the budget should be at 1 percent of gross national income (GNI), are the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Austria. On the other side, there is a group of 17 cohesion countries, which, according to Šarec, is in favour of an ambitious budget, claiming that more can be done with less. “We had two meetings today and were united in both meetings that this does not make sense at the moment,” Slovenian PM stressed.
According to Šarec, the cohesion countries agreed that the last proposal was not acceptable to them either because it doesn’t meet their ambition and doesn’t intend enough for cohesion. “Slovenia, too cannot be sure if it will get what it wants,” he said.
“Things need to be rethought”
The joint plenary session, which was postponed several times during the day, was short. According to Šarec, the technical proposal presented by the Commission was not discussed at all because they found it to be “a provocation after all that they have witnessed in last 24 hours”.
Cohesion countries were unanimous that there was no point in starting a new round of negotiations that day, but that matters need to be rethought so everyone should go home to recalculate it all.
“Matters need to be redefined,” Šarec points out. The scope of the budget is the first issue, he says. “Until we get a better deal, further negotiations are not possible,” he said.
Šarec repeated that Slovenia will insist that a 24-percent drop in cohesion funds compared to the current multi-annual budget is not acceptable.
Asked whether the technical proposal, which otherwise provides additional funds for cohesion, foresees a 24-percent reduction in cohesion funds for Slovenia, the PM said that “it is not known at the moment whether this would improve anything”.
So now they are expecting a new compromise proposal. They will probably meet again in March; but is not clear at the moment whether on a regular meeting or an extraordinary session. However, a possible date of 5 March is unofficially mentioned as a possible date for the extraordinary meeting.
Source: STA, vecer.com