The EU will be forced to resubmit a draft proposal for the bloc’s 2019 budget after negotiators failed to reach an agreement which forces the bloc to pin its hopes on talks scheduled for December.
New Europe reports that “Unfortunately, no breakthrough (was) possible,” Günther Oettinger, the EU’s Commissioner for Budget said in a tweet, shortly after the midnight deadline passed on November 19. Oettinger adding that Brussels “will deliver a fresh proposal in a few days to allow for a deal to be signed by the end of the year.”
A budget of €149.3 billion was proposed by the EU Parliament, over a billion more than the €148.2 billion that had been agreed upon by the EU’s 28 members.
An EU official told New Europe that no compromise can be found by January 1, Brussels will have to work with emergency funds on a month-by-month basis until a deal can be worked out.
This development could be potentially damaging in the long-term after EU diplomats involved in talks could not find a consensus on what kind of funding would be used to finance spending increases. Those involved in the negotiations would like a new mechanism that would redirect unused funds into the coffers in order to fund projects that need a significant influx of funds to offset any potential increase when it comes to spending.
The EU’s 28 members, however, rejected this proposal from the European Parliament, although a majority in the European Council are ready to back the Parliament’s plan.
Austria’s minister of finance, Hartwig Löger, who also serves as the Council’s chief negotiator for the 2019 EU budget, said the Council regretted not being able to reach a suitable agreement on the 2019 budget.
“Throughout the conciliation process, the Council tried hard to find a solution that would equip the Union for the challenges ahead. But I am still confident that we will be able to agree on next year’s budget before the end of the year,” said Löger.
In addition to the debate over how to use unspent funds from previous years, the European Parliament asked for a smaller contribution from the EU budget to fund a refugee facility in Turkey. The bloc agreed in June to provide €1 billion of an additional €3 billion for the facility via contributions, leaving €2 billion to be paid from the EU’s budget.