Brexit could RUIN Germany costing Berlin billions in subsidies from EU budget slash

Posted on Feb 6 2018 - 1:27pm by admin

The Brussels bloc currently enjoys funding from British taxpayers but this is set to end once the UK leaves the EU.

As a major donor, the UK’s departure will leave large hole in the EU’s budget and officials are now trying to find ways to reduce the bloc’s spending.

The European Commission is understood to be considering cancelling the Structural Funds for Germany and other relatively wealthy member states in a bid to save billions of euros. 

The Structural Funds include the European Regional Development Fund (Efre) and the European Social Fund which provide subsidies for skills training, agriculture and fisheries. 

According to a report commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics, Germany has received nearly £24.7billion (€28billion) in funding from the Structural and Investment Funds during the 2014-2020 funding period.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for the Commission to debate the austerity measures at their next meeting on February 14, diplomats told German newspaper Handelsblatt.

Reports suggest that the EU could save £886million (€100billion) over the next seven-year financial period from 2021 to 2028 if ended subsidies to countries with a per capita income above the EU average – which would also affect France, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Meanwhile, EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger has warned German farmers to prepare for less money from Brussels. 

In the new multi-annual EU budget, Mr Oettinger said there will be “no total cuts, as some fear” but member states will have to adjust to financial reductions after the UK’s exit.

However, German Association of Cities, the German County Association and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities are desperately calling for the funding period to be maintained even after 2020.

They signed a policy statement on cohesion policy which supports hundreds of thousands of projects in Europe to receive funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund.

Although it is rarely discussed in Brussels or Berlin, Germany is becoming increasingly concerned about losing UK funding and trade.

Officials in the town of Bremen for example are worried this will lead to less funding for the region and eventually remove the “visible benefits” of EU membership from the area.

MP from the centre-left SPD party Antje Grotheer said: “If you go outside to the river, you can see what the EU has done, so people experience the EU as something positive.

“But the moment you cut western Europeans’ cohesion funds, they won’t see the benefits they have.”

Meanwhile, former President of the Federation of German Industries, Hans-Olaf Henkel said Brexit will negatively impact on the continent.

He said: “It is so obvious, Brexit will result in a lose-lose situation for both, Britain and the EU.”

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.)

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