Romania’s president wants more money from the EU for development projects and says he’s unhappy about a rift between western and eastern members over budget plans for the next seven years.
The so-called “Frugal Four” of Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, backed by Germany believe the EU’s 2021-2027 budget, earmarked to fund ambitious climate change and digital economy policies, should amount to 1% of the 27-nation trading bloc’s gross national income.
The four are lined up against a group of mainly central and eastern European nations, including Romania, who want to see the continued flow of “cohesion funds,” money to help develop poorer regions.
“I reiterated the importance of cohesion for us,” said President Klaus Iohannis on Friday at the end of the emergency summit. “It’s about money invested in every community, money that basically reaches every Romanian, and helps us develop and reach a development level which is comparable with other European Union countries.”
He called the outcome “disappointing for us at this moment. I can’t say we’ve made progress. The positions haven’t improved.”
“We are trying to see if we can reach…progress in these negotiations. Most of us are skeptical,” he said.
Major contributors to the European Union’s budget blocked progress at Friday’s emergency insisting that they would not stump up more funds for the bloc’s next long-term spending package, worth around one trillion euros.
Iohannis said he wasn’t optimistic and said it was likely there would be another summit in early March.
EU Council President Charles Michel, who met with EU leaders throughout the night trying to reach a compromise, has tabled a draft budget of 1.074% of gross national income. The European Parliament wants 1.3%, while the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission opts for 1.11%.
Britain’s departure from the bloc leaves a budget hole of about 75 billion euros over seven years.