European Union leaders appeared no closer to striking a deal on the bloc’s next joint budget Friday, with deep disagreements between richer and poorer countries over its size – and what to spend it on – unresolved after all-night talks.
Some need additional funding to match new goals to fight climate change and manage migration; some desire a sustained focus on development and farm aid. Some are pushing for greater realism in recognizing the 75 billion euro ($81 billion) fiscal gap left by net contributor Britain’s EU exit.
As the leaders prepared to reconvene nearly 1000 GMT, a baseline offer to cap the budget – which is able to run from 2021 to 2027 – at 1.074% of EU gross national earnings, i.e., 1.09 trillion euros ($1.18 trillion), was facing criticism from all quarters.
Called the Frugal Four, the bloc’s rich net contributors – Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark- need to put the budget cover at 1% of GDP and refuse to pay more to make up for the lack of Britain’s payments.
Their less developed peers are the main recipients of EU funds and want to keep generous support coming regardless.
After a primary session of all 27 leaders Thursday afternoon, their chairperson – former Belgian PM Charles Michel – broke for separate face-to-face meetings with each leader.
These went through the night and until early Friday morning, with Michel asking that leaders name their prime priorities rather than a long list of demands, in addition to any sweeteners that could assist them in selling a deal at home, diplomats stated.