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Germany running out of money

Updated: Mar 15

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner sees no scope for additional German payments to the EU budget. Germany is by far the largest net payer to the EU.

Germany's budget situation is tight, the FDP politician told Deutsche Presse-Agentur and other members of the European Newsroom in Brussels in an interview. "In view of the necessary cuts in our national budget, we can't draw any additional contributions to the European Union budget at the moment." Other member states are in a similar position, he said.

In part because of the high cost of supporting Ukraine, the EU's long-standing budget for 2021 to 2027 is "stretched to the maximum," according to the commission. It is currently under review. On June 20, the Commission plans to present the results of the review.

The budget situation in Germany is tight, the FDP politician told Deutsche Presse-Agentur and other members of the European Newsroom in Brussels in an interview. "Given the necessary cuts in our national budget, we can't draw any additional contributions to the European Union budget at the moment." Other member states are in a similar position, he said.

In part because of the high cost of supporting Ukraine, the EU's long-standing budget for 2021 to 2027 is "stretched to the maximum," according to the commission. It is currently under review. On June 20, the commission plans to present the results of the review.

It is to be expected that the EU Commission will demand further funds in the course of the revision, Lindner said. He cautioned that before potential contribution increases for EU countries, additional funding needs should be met through redeployment or by using existing margins in the EU budget for unforeseen events. There must be clear prioritization, he said, "focusing on the unavoidable additional financing needs arising, for example, from the EU's legal obligations."

France no longer wants EU debt rules

Germany is by far the largest net payer to the EU. According to a report by "ARD Tagesschau," German taxpayers will transfer around 25 billion euros more to the Community coffers in 2021 than it received from them. In addition, there are further payments for the Corona Fund as well as for the support of Ukraine in the defensive war against Russia. Germany's contribution had risen by more than five billion euros following the UK's exit from the EU.

In the debate on reforming EU debt rules, France continues to oppose the uniform rules for all countries demanded by Germany, among others. "Our answer is clearly "no," for reasons that stem from our past experience," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said yesterday at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg.

"When it has been tried, it has not worked and has led to disastrous consequences for the European Union, which also have to do with political issues, namely respect for the sovereignty of states," Le Maire said. "I remind you that the European Union is still built on the sovereignty of nations and states."

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, on the other hand, reiterated his call for uniform rules: "We need common rules that are the same for everyone," he said in Luxembourg. Fiscal rules should not become "softer in principle, but more realistic and reliable."

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