Austria: Sebastian Kurz threatens to veto EU post-Brexit budget | News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW | 01.02.2020

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Austria: Sebastian Kurz threatens to veto EU post-Brexit budget

Austria's conservative leader has said he will not accept the EU's push for an increased budget of 1.11%. The departure of net contributor Britain from the EU diminishes the bloc's shared budget, straining member states.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced Saturday that Austria and other countries will veto the European Union's long-term budget plan for post-Brexit Europe unless the proposed budget is lowered.

The European Commission has been pushing members for contributions of 1.11% as a share of gross national income (GNI).  Austria, along with Germany and the Netherlands, is demanding a 1% cap.

"If this proposal is introduced, we will not support it, and neither will the other EU net contributors, I think," the conservative leader told Austrian radio Oe1, referring to member states that contribute more into the bloc's budget than they receive in EU funding.

"The 1.11% is still not acceptable to us. So there would be a veto on our part here," Kurz said.

Britain's official exit from the EU on Friday evening diminished the bloc's shared budget. After 47 years of membership, Britain had been a key net contributor to the bloc.

Read moreAustrian election campaign wraps up with patriotism — and a 'dirt bucket'

Ongoing talks

Kurz, the leader of theright-wing Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), said that negotiations are still ongoing.

"I do hope that we will be presented with a new proposal that we will hopefully be able to accept," he said.

Kurz's statement comes not long after EU leaders had emphasized new priorities for the bloc including migration, climate change, and digitalization. 

European Council President Charles Michel has called for a special EU leaders summit on February 20 in Brussels to negotiate the next shared budget for 2021 to 2027.

Next week, the Council leader is set to meet up with 16 heads of state and government representatives for separate talks on the EU's budget. Kurz is scheduled to attend the meeting on Wednesday.

Claudia Gamon, member of the National Council of Austria and a member of the European parliament, said that in the post-Brexit era, it was "time for a strong EU, " according to the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung.

"If you torpedo the common goals now, you are moving into dangerous waters," she said.

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