Europeans furious as UK blocks EU budget ahead of Brexit talks

UK blocks EU budget as Europeans reject pre-negotiation games with Downing Street

EUROPEAN REPRESENTATIVES were outraged at the UK’s blocking of the EU’s long-term budget, running until 2020, at an EU council meeting this week.

The move was condemned by Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator for the European Commission, in the European Parliament. He criticised the UK for “putting up roadblocks in the EU” before its exit.

Barnier spent the rest of the session debriefing MEPs on the EU’s guidelines for the Brexit negotiations, which are expected to meet the UK Government’s hard Brexit line with a hard EU line.

The EU budget and agreement over it is vital for investment across the EU bloc and the promotion of European projects and integration.

Boris Johnson earlier this month said that that in his view there was an argument that “the EU owes the UK money.”

The French diplomat said: “I would appreciate it if the United Kingdom would work in the spirit of agreement with the EU, rather than against it.”

“The subject of the EU budget has little to do with Brexit and everything to do with the future of the 27-country bloc.” Alain Lamassoure

According to the EU, the UK blocked the budget stating it had to wait until after the General Election on 8 June before making a decision. But European Parliamentary aides have told CommonSpace that they fear this is the first in a set of moves to drag out the UK’s obligations to the EU for past and current budgetary concerns.

French MEP Alain Lamassoure of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) group also criticised the UK’s delay to the approval of the budget saying: “There’s no reason for this delay or any games. Its [the budget’s] main objective is to bring the necessary flexibility to finance the policies that do not concern or will no longer concern the UK.

“The subject of the EU budget has little to do with Brexit and everything to do with the future of the 27-country bloc.

“We would like to begin the work on the next phase of budgeting, for after 2020, but we cannot start blindfolded. And then we have to shift gears. We are in this absurd situation where 85% of the budget is spent through automatic redistribution mechanisms such as the CAP and cohesion funds, and then the functioning of the EU absorbs a share of what is left so that we are left with only symbolic amounts to channel into real policies.”

"We have to lay down a foundation of trust which we will need to construct the future relationship with the United Kingdom. A no deal will not be forced by us." Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier also told lawmakers that he and they should firmly commit to refusing to launch negotiations on a future EU-UK free trade deal before seeing "significant progress" on the rights of EU nationals, the Irish border question and the settlement covering outstanding UK commitments to the EU.

“This is not done to create problems, or as some kind of punishment for the United Kingdom,” he said.

“It is there to solve problems and put them in the right order.”

"It is there to create the basis of trust," he added.

"We have to lay down a foundation of trust which we will need to construct the future relationship with the United Kingdom. A no deal will not be forced by us."

The European Commission also confirmed that the European Council President Donald Tusk would discuss the issue of the budget and Brexit relating negotiations with new French President Emmanuel Macron later today (Thursday 18 May) in Paris.

The UK Government reiterated that it would revisit the issue of the budget at “a better time.”

Picture courtesy of tristram sparks

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Comments

MikMac

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 17:25

The UK is doing this to "better" them, no other reason. The UK is doing it to be seen to have "won" something. That's how weak the UK's position is. Neither side will benefit from it, ultimately, but it will be remembered years from now when something that really does matter crops up. It's pathetic to be British right now.

Bananas

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 17:21

@MikMac So it's okay for the EU to demand €100bil from UK without any solid facts to justify the demands, while at the same time, avoid adjusting their budget to compensate for UK leaving. But its not okay for UK to block said overspending/overstretched budget when the EU's budget deficit is going to be demanded from the UK?
What planet are you on? Because its definitely not Earth.

The EU says it will refuse "no deal" and doesn't want that forced upon them yet they refuse to negotiate at all until UK pays a ludicrous bill. The British MPs are correct when they say EU owes them money. UK has contributed to the EU for decades and funded many of the wasteful construction projects commissioned by the EU over the years (including their HQ). In fact its been contributing so long that the EU has got used to taking it for granted. Now that a big chunk of their budget is about to walk away, they're absolutely scared crapless at the thought of filling a budget deficit. Most of the contributing countries refuse to pay more to fill the gap, while the benefactors of the budget refuse to take cuts to avoid the budget being overstretched, so what does the EU choose? to make a massive demand to the UK for money it doesn't even owe to start with.

All the while, they're telling UK who it can and can't negotiate with as if they control the UK.

Unless the EU gets its budget under control, they'll have a hard time avoiding collapse. Fact. So, you're right, neither side will benefit, since there isn't going to be an EU left to negotiate with at this rate.

The UK should cash in on all its assets held in the EU while it still has the chance. No doubt the EU will do its utmost to prevent that as well, because that's what dictators do.

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