Germany and France have warned that cuts in funding for EU programs after Brexit could undermine efforts to combat illegal immigration and terrorism.
The leaders of both nations. Macron and Merkel said on Friday that spending in these areas should not be compromised.
But other rich member states have argued that a smaller EU – without the UK – should mean a smaller budget.
Clashes to Britain’s departure from the union come when leaders meet in Brussels to decide whether to increase contributions or reduce funding for EU programs.
Arriving for informal discussions Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was important not to reduce financial backing for operations that appeared effective in addressing issues such as terrorism in the Sahel region of northern and western Africa.
“We are all contributing financially to military operations against radicalization in this region and is beginning to bear fruit,” she said. “We also need to work together … with Libya to fight illegal migration”.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived with Mrs. Merkel, said France was also “engaged” in the fight for “eradicating terrorism” and “trafficking in human beings” through Africa.
Separately, it was announced that UK Prime Minister Theresa May will hold a speech that outlines her vision for the future UK relationship with the EU on 2 March 2018.
Before Friday’s talks, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU should have “new priorities and policies”. He added that unless an agreement is reached to reduce funds for certain programs, “we will have to pay more”.
Juncker also said he was concerned about a “split between east and west”. “Sometimes it gets more and sometimes the changes are promised. I do not want new breaks in Europe. We’ve had enough of them. “
Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite said the leaders had “many new challenges” to address, but the financial impact of Brexit was high on the agenda.
“Between payments following Brexit and new policy promises, there is a lack of financial resources of around 20%,” she said.
Estonian Prime Minister Yuri Ratas, meanwhile, said it was not an “option” for future EU ambitions to be compromised. “We would like to see a stronger, safer and more united European Union,” he said.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said his country was unwilling to “pay more,” adding that Europe should be “more efficient”. “It is possible to change some expenses,” he said.
Deciding how to fill the budget buzz that Brexit will leave behind is problematic, says Kevin Connolli of the BBC, while net contributors like Austria and the Netherlands see costs far different from net recipients like Poland and Greece.
Article Contributed by : Spiro Veneti