EU chiefs tell Britain: Hand over £1bn more
‘It will infuriate Eurosceptics’
BRUSSELS expects the UK to pay an extra £1billion to the EU next year, documents have revealed.
In a controversial move, EU officials have outlined a huge increase in spending, which they expect the UK to help fund despite voting to leave.
Calls for British taxpayers to give even more to the bloc’s annual budget will infuriate Eurosceptics amid the row over the huge Brexit bill being demanded by Brussels.
But EU officials said negotiations about the UK’s departure from the bloc had no immediate effect and that payments are still expected while it remains a member. A draft budget produced by the European Commission revealed that EU spending will increase by 8.1 per cent in 2018 to £126billion.
This would involve a total UK contribution of around £15.1billion after Britain’s rebate has been deducted – compared with projected payments of just over £14billion for this year.
EU chiefs yesterday denied that the spending increases were abnormal and said that they were ‘just meeting expectations’ set out by countries including the UK.
The proposed increase will infuriate Downing Street amid claims that the EU is trying to ‘gold plate’ its budget before the UK leaves.
Countries across the bloc are increasingly concerned about how the EU will fill the huge hole left when contributions by the UK, one of the largest net contributors to the budget, are stopped.
EU officials yesterday admitted for the first time that they ‘have no idea what the consequences’ of losing the money will be.
Next year’s spending increase will see British funds used to hand out an estimated £12million in additional payments to the gold-plated pensions schemes of eurocrats.
The increases also involve pumping hundreds of millions into the EU’s battle to curb migration.
But the budget proposal says most of the funds will be used to pay for infrastructure and to create jobs across the bloc.
EU budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger said the framework for 2018 was ‘realistic and will meet the challenges being faced by the EU’.
Official Government figures show that the UK’s gross contribution to the EU budget in 2016 – the latest figures available – was £17billion.
The overall figure paid fell when the £3.9billion rebate was deducted, as well as a further £4.5billion in EU payments towards projects in the UK. The UK’s net contribution for 2016 was £8.6billion.
The increased spending laid out in the draft budget does not outline how much the UK will receive back in payments from Brussels.
÷The number of Irish passport applications by UK citizens has soared by 70 per cent this year following the Brexit vote.
Between January and March this year, Dublin received 51,079 applications from Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK. In the same period in 2016, some 30,303 applications were received.