The five-member states with deeper pockets, such as Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Austria pay out about half of net payments to the EU budget in 2020, rising to three-quarters by the end of 2027. In a position paper seen by the Financial Times, the frugal states warn, “placing an ever-increasing financial burden on a small number of member states will not be acceptable to our citizens”. This comes in light of the economic fall-out from Brexit, that will cause the richest member states to be straddled with an increase in the share of financing for the EU budget to rise disproportionately.
Wopke Hoekstra, Dutch finance minister, said the government would nor accept a proposal where the largest net payers footed the bill for Brexit and lost their rebates.
Me Hoekstra told the FT: There is no justification, it is not reasonable and the proposal as it now stands is simply one we cannot accept.”
But their opponents, ranging from France and Spain to Poland and Lithuania, argue that rebates for prosperous EU states can no longer be justified.
This news comes as Germany is facing up to a drastic loss of influence in Brussel even though the country’s Ursula von der Leyen has now formally taken over the European Commission presidency from Jean-Claude Juncker.
Ms von der Leyen’s elevation means Berlin no longer has a working commissioner while Angela Merkel’s former defence secretary and the first woman to run the commission and the first German to do so in 50 years is already under intense pressure to be perceived as a neutral.
Ms von der Leyen officially replaced Mr Juncker, two days after a handover ceremony in Brussels.
European Parliament President David Sassoli welcomed the new leaders while calling on them to deliver on promises made to the European Union’s 508 million citizens, saying “it is now time to act”.
He said: ”We need to turn the promises of the past few months into results that improve people’s lives.
“From the fight against climate change to tackling the rise in the cost of living, Europeans want to see real action.”
Momentum is building to face the challenge of climate change and Ms von der Leyen has said it will be a top priority for her.
The nomination of Ms von der Leyen in July was seen by many as the natural progression for a country long-accustomed to having its voice well-represented in Brussels.
But German officials, MEPs and lobbyists in Brussels and Berlin say they are bracing for a significant loss of influence within the corridors of power.
Ms von der Leyen has not had the best of starts with controversy over some of the titles she assigned to her commissioners and miscalculations of the political dynamics in the European Parliament raising questions about her ability to protect the independence of the Commission from outspoken national leaders such as Emmanuel Macron.
But she will also find herself under close scrutiny as an impartial “guardian of the treaties”.
Judy Dempsey, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Europe think tank, told politico.eu: “Von der Leyen doesn’t want to be seen as the pushy German.
“She wants to be European first. Her speeches are all about this.”
Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen is a German politician and President of the European Commission since 1 December 2019.
She served in the federal government of Germany from 2005 to 2019 as the longest-serving member of Angela Merkel’s cabinet.
She is a member of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its EU counterpart, the European People’s Party (EPP).
She was born and raised in Brussels, where her father Ernst Albrecht was one of the first European civil servants.
She was brought up bilingually in German and French and is of German and British American descent.
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EUROPEAN Commission president Ursula von der Leyen hopes for making the EU a more muscular actor on the global stage have been overshadowed by a festering row over the EU’s upcoming budget were the small number of member states that carry the brunt of the bloc’s financial burden are facing more pressure because of Brexit.
The five-member states with deeper pockets, such as Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Austria pay out about half of net payments to the EU budget in 2020, rising to three-quarters by the end of 2027. In a position paper seen by the Financial Times, the frugal states warn, “placing an ever-increasing financial burden on a small number of member states will not be acceptable to our citizens”.