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Brussels could demand another €3 billion from the Netherlands

The European Commission wants the EU member states to contribute considerably more money in the coming years to cover unforeseen costs. In its current plans, the Netherlands would pay over 3.1 billion euros extra, outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra wrote to parliament, RTL Nieuws reports.

The EU works with a multi-year budget spanning seven years. The idea is that it offers member states several years of certainty about what they have to pay the EU. But, the European Commission considers it necessary to change this budget halfway through due to the war in Ukraine, high inflation, higher employment costs, migration flows to Europe, and higher interest rates. The Commission also wants to invest billions more into programs to make the European economy more competitive.

The European Commission estimates it will need an additional 66 billion euros to cover costs in all these areas. It also wants to provide an additional 33 billion euros in extra loans to Ukraine. Part of that money can likely be absorbed from other policy areas, where not all planned expenditure could happen. And for the loans to Ukraine, EU countries must provide guarantees; they don’t have to hand over money immediately.

That leaves 54 billion euros outstanding. The Netherlands is responsible for 3.16 billion euros of that amount spread over 2024 to 2027. That amount could increase if the EU needs to give Ukraine more money or interest costs continue to rise. Then, the Netherlands’ amount could increase by at least 1.8 billion euros.

Hoekstra said that the Netherlands would likely support the extra expenditure for Ukraine. These are actually unforeseen, and the Cabinet is “in principle positive about them,” he wrote. But the Cabinet will fight the other extra contributions.

The government acknowledges that higher interest costs are a problem that needs to be solved. But as far as the Netherlands is concerned, the EU can live by the same rules as its member states, which face the same problem – cut budgets elsewhere to cover the higher costs. “In the negotiations, the Cabinet is focusing on limiting the size and further framing the proposal, particularly adding a clear maximum amount to the special instrument,” Hoekstra wrote to parliament.

This type of budget proposal requires approval from all member states and the European Parliament before it can be implemented. 

Source: NL TIMES