European Union heads of state on Friday disagreed on the 2021-2027 budget after two days of discussion, with more affluent countries refusing to heed to their poorer peers’ call for more aid.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the EU leaders went to the summit expecting disagreements. Greece was expecting more resources to tackle the difficult issues the country is facing.
The departure of Britain from the bloc left the EU with a hole of about 75 billion euros, leaving the remaining 27 countries on disagreement in the overall size of the 2021-2027 budget and on how it is to be spent.
“We have to acknowledge that the differences are too big still to find agreement,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Brussels, Reuters said.
Agreement on the long-term budget has always been a difficult task for the European Union. The vast differences between the economies of the North and those of the South have often created feuds among member states.
However, climate change and the migrant crisis have added more fiscal headaches to EU state leaders and, more importantly, have added fuel to the fire of ongoing feuds between rich members and less affluent ones.
Greek PM: ‘Some insisted we should do more with fewer resources’
“Expectations of reaching an agreement in the first attempt were extremely low,” the Greek prime minister said in a press conference shortly after the conclusion of the meeting.
“Some [members] insisted we should do more with fewer resources, so no agreement was reached,” the Greek PM said, adding that the fiscal gap Brexit left made an agreement even more difficult.
However, Mitsotakis suggested to “avoid histrionics”. “History teaches us that such complex agreements are not, as a rule, achieved in the first attempt – such is Europe’s history,” he noted.
The Greek prime minister placed particular emphasis on the “support of the two traditional EU pillars, the Common Agricultural Policy and the Cohesion Policy, which should be non-negotiable.”