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Germany faces no-deal Brexit burden

April 5, 2019

The EU's budget chief says Germany will have to supply a cash injection of several hundred million euros to the bloc in the event of a no-deal Brexit. A messy departure will leave billions missing from the EU budget.

Günther Oettinger
Image: picture-alliance/AA/D. Aydemir

Germany will have to pay millions to help fill an EU funding gap if Britain crashes out of the bloc without a contract, EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger warned Friday.

His comments came as British Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to Brussels asking to delay Brexit until June 30. Britain is due to leave the bloc on April 12, and May is hoping a postponement will allow divided British lawmakers to agree on withdrawal terms and avoid a no-deal Brexit. The prime minister is also in talks with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to find a solution to the standoff.  

In an interview with Germany's DPA news agency, Oettinger said the EU will have a funding gap of €4-5 billion in 2019 if Britain leaves without a deal and no longer provides EU contributions. He added that in 2020 that amount would rise to €12 billion ($13.5 billion) — half of which would be covered by structural cuts, and the rest by additional contributions from the remaining 27 member states.

Germany would probably have to provide a short-term cash injection of "less than half a billion euros" this year, Oettinger said. He added that the sum was relatively small and "reasonable."

Read moreAngela Merkel: Brexit to leave 'very challenging' budget hole

'Better late than not at all'

Oettinger, who is a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union, told DPA he welcomed the talks between May and Corbyn, saying they were "better late than not at all."

But he added: "The fact that the two leading parties did not seek a common solution in any form for such a long time is difficult to understand. I think now there is still a chance, at 5 minutes to midnight, that there'll be a smarter solution than a no-deal Brexit before the European Council next Wednesday."

Read moreEU budget chief wants billions more from Germany post-Brexit

EU leaders are scheduled to meet for an emergency summit on Wednesday in Brussels. Any delay to the Brexit process needs to be unanimously backed by the 27 member states. If Britain hasn't left the bloc by May 23, it will have a legal obligation to take part in the European Parliament elections.

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