On the agenda: The European Union’s future budget.
In a nutshell: With the U.K. — a net contributor to the European Union — leaving, the bloc faces a gap of between “€12 billion to €15 billion” a year, according to European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger. Plus the EU will have to factor in additional spending for defense and border security as it updates its budget for the coming years. The plan is to do that by cutting certain spending, requiring a “moderate increase” in contributions from the remaining 27 countries, and moving money around to different programs.
On the chopping block: Potentially everything could see cuts, except the Erasmus educational program and Horizon 2020 scientific research program. “All programs will have to tolerate certain cuts,” Oettinger said, adding that “even large programs like cohesion, agricultural policy and rural development will have to fall under the hammer.”
Also, any program that does not have “true European added value” could see reduced spending.
Other revenue proposals: Oettinger said the Commission is considering a plastics tax and potentially moving revenue from the Emissions Trading System to European coffers.
Timeline: Public consultations begin this week. The multiannual financial framework proposals are to be discussed in May, before being adopted and presented to the public.