Oettinger wants at least € 16 billion more per year on EU budget, announces plans for “Plastics tax”

EPA / OLIVIER HOSLET

German EU Commissioner for budget and human resources Guenther Oettinger gives a press briefing on future of the EU Budget at the end of weekly meeting of the European commission in Brussels, Belgium, 28 June 2017.

Oettinger wants at least € 16 billion more per year on EU budget, announces plans for “Plastics tax”


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EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger expects from the EU-27 member states to contribute at least € 16 billion more to the forthcoming EU budget.

Oettinger explained on Wednesday that his claim for an extra € 16 billion per year could fix the bloc’s main gaps: “We have two major gaps – a revenue gap and an expenditure gap,” said the Commissioner. As for the revenue gap, this comes from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and is currently estimated by the EU executive between 12 and 14 billion euros. Half of the sum is to be achieved by saving, the other half needs to be re-injected as fresh money from the EU-27.

Besides the revenue gap mentioned above, Oettinger suggested that another 10 billion euros should be added to these 6 – 7 billion euros, which would be needed for the funding of new European task, such as the reception of refugees, the fight against terrorists and the EU’s plans for coordinated military, security and defence policy.

Brussels currently receives 1 percent of European economic output, currently around 160 € billion euros a year, while Oettinger aims to increase the revenue to 1.1 to 1.2%. Exact figures are expected to be submitted on behalf of the European Commission in May, and the budget is expected a year from then to be agreed upon, before the 2019 European elections.

The hot phase of negotiations on the EU multiannual budget falls into the Austrian EU Presidency in the second half of the year. Austria has already clearly positioned itself in this regard and intends to prevent an increase in Austrian premiums despite the exit of the large net contributor to Great Britain.

Plastics tax for extra revenue

As for extra ways to increase revenue, Oettinger announced his intentions to introduce a tax on plastic. “We produce and use too much plastic,” he said, about plastic ant the environmental pollution it causes. Whether the levy should be incurred by the production or the consumers is still on the table.

Other own resources for the EU budget, are the revenues from the ETS system (Emissions Trading, Note). Directing the revenue from the ETS straight to the bloc’s budget, would mean that “money is also there, where the legislation is,” according to Oettinger.

For financing, Oettinger stated that 80 percent of the new necessary expenditure was to be provided by fresh money and 20 percent by shifts and cuts in existing budget structures. In fact, all programs would have to accept “certain cuts”, addressing mainly cohesion and agriculture and rural development. Exceptions on cuts are “Erasmus plus” and Horizon 2020 programmes, where funds are expected to increase.

Moderate cuts are expected in the areas of agriculture and cohesion, so that the programs would not be falling apart according to the Commissioner, meaning that cuts will be limited and not 30-50 percent.

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