Significant gaps as EU budget negotiations to resume

EU leaders will resume negotiations this morning on the seven year budget after failing to make any breakthrough in talks late last night.

There are still significant gaps between bigger net contributors and poorer member states over the size of the budget and what the spending priorities should be.

Leo Varadkar is expected to join the negotiations this morning following yesterday’s Dáil vote and his resignation as Taoiseach last night.

The departure of the United Kingdom means there will be a hole of up to €75 billion in the EU’s €1 trillion seven year budget.

EU leaders have been trying to bridge that gap while also shift more resources towards the fight against climate change and the costs of managing migration.

The so called Frugal Four of the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark are determined that the budget should be no more than one percent of Europe’s economic output.

They and Germany want to maintain a series of rebates that traditionally offset their large contributions, which will be even larger now due to Britain’s departure.

Following multiple bilateral meetings last night between leaders and European Council President Charles Michel it was clear there would be no breakthrough. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel left the summit around 11pm last night as did French President Emmanuel Macron, a clear signal that talks would have to resume today.

Ireland wants to maintain farm spending at current levels, but under the current proposals the Common Agriculture Policy would see a cut of up to €53bn.

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