The European government leaders have failed to prepare a new budget for the next seven years. After two days of meetings in Brussels, the Belgian President Michel decided to suspend the negotiations. “We need more time to see how we can get out,” he says.
It is not known when the discussions will resume. “As my grandmother said: to succeed we have to keep trying,” said Michel.
The countries spoke intensively throughout the day. The Netherlands no longer wants to pay to the EU, while the other countries are asking for it. The Southern and Eastern European countries are keen to retain the special cohesion funds (to combat poverty), while the Netherlands wants to stick to the € 1.5 billion discount it has.
Another stumbling block is the percentage of the size of the European economy that has to go to the EU. Michel bets at 1.07 percent, while the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Sweden do not want to go further than 1 percent. That is a difference of 75 billion euros.
The Netherlands also wants to keep the customs revenues that end up in the treasury via the port of Rotterdam. The European Union wants a part to flow to the treasury in Brussels.
According to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, time is running out.
“If we don’t have an agreement before the end of the year, we can’t spend money.”
Michel is also optimistic after the failure of the discussions.
“I think it is possible, because everyone wants to get out and everyone wants modernization.”
Today, efforts were made throughout the day to find a solution. Prime Minister Rutte was involved in many of those attempts because he is the leader of what they call the frugal countries in Brussels. The attitude of these countries is said to be irritating, especially among net recipients, who receive more money from the EU than they spend on Europe.
Michel put a compromise on the table at around 7 p.m. “The differences were just too big,” Prime Minister Rutte analyzed afterwards.
“It is not a disaster. When the previous budget was drawn up in 2012, the first talks also failed and a few months later we agreed. It’s soluble. We can get out, but I have no guarantees.”