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Brussels Demands More Money from EU Members

The European Commission wants more money from its members. But Germany, France and the U.K., among others, are not ready to fork it out.

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Nothing's unrealistic, says EU Commission President Romano Prodi

Money has been a touchy subject between the European Union and its member states of late.

First, European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes sued EU member states for suspending the monetary pact that controls spending within the 15-member organization. Now, the EU Commission is readying itself for criticism after proposing member states pay more into the Union's budget.

Commission President Romano Prodi announced Tuesday that the Commision planned to increase its budget until 2013 from 103 to 140 billion euros. That would mean member states would have to pay, on average, 1.14 percent of their Gross National Income (GNI). Begnining in 2008, they would have to pay 1.23 percent.

Prodi said the budget was necessary in order to compensate for the European Union's expensive expansion this year from 15 to 25 members. The new members, from eastern and southern Europe, are eager to keep the EU budget high in order to reap promised subsidies from Brussels.

"Absolutely unrealistic"

Germany, Austria, Sweden, U.K., France and the Netherlands -- among the European Union budget's biggest contributors --have come out against an increase in the budget. They want to keep the limit at 1 percent.

Swedish Finance Minister Bosse Ringholm called the Prodi proposal "absolutely unrealistic."

More finance ministers are likely to fire salvos in the coming month. The ministers will debate the budget increase at a informal meeting in April.

After that a long road remains ahead. All 25 members of the European Union will have to pass the budget proposal, which the Commission expects to happen in early 2005.

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  • Date 11.02.2004
  • Author DW Staff (dre)
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/4f9D
  • Date 11.02.2004
  • Author DW Staff (dre)
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/4f9D