EU ambassadors held lengthy talks over the bloc’s next seven-year budget as it looks to prop-up the ailing Union in the wake of the UK’s departure. But things turned tense when German Ambassador Michael Clauss reminded his fellow EU counterparts Germany was prepared to dig deep to fund the Brexit shortfall but demanded member states should be prepared to step up to the plate over the migration issue. Mr Clauss told the EU Council Germany’s budget contributions could rise to about one-quarter of the whole EU budget following Britain’s exit.
It comes after MEPs in the European Parliament backed plans to increase member state budget contributions to 1.3 percent in March – a move that would likely frustrate member states.
They hope the ambitious reform to the budget can help fund new priorities and transform to farming and cohesion policies, which make up the bulk of EU funding.
Mr Clauss urged member states to “show solidarity on other important issues, such as joint burden sharing in the migration issue,” according to diplomats at the meeting.
He added: “In the long run, solidarity can only function on the basis of reciprocity,” according to politics news site, Politico.co.uk.
But EU member states including Poland and Hungary have continued to push back on migrant reform.
The tense meeting comes after it emerged Berlin is preparing to pay billions more into the EU’s coffers to plug the Brexit blackhole in its budget.
As chiefs count the cost of life without Britain officials are currently working to plug a €10bn blackhole left by the UK’s departure from the Brussels project.
Berlin is expecting to pay as much as €15bn extra a year to Brussels, according to a shock report published by its finance ministry.
Finance minister Olaf Scholz said: “We are prepared to increase Germany’s contributions to the EU budget.”
Angela Merkel’s Germany already pays €30bn but is ready to step up its payments despite already being the bloc’s largest contributor.
CDU chief economist Eckhardt Rehberg said: “Europe is not suffering because of not having enough money.”