EU budget bows to mood in Dutch politics
The European Commission is willing to make concessions to the Netherlands and other net contributor member states, EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski told a press conference on Tuesday in Brussels.
The Netherlands is one of the three biggest net contributors in relation to GDP. Germany and Denmark are the other two countries that proportionally pay the biggest sums into the European Union pot above the amount they get back in subsidies. Last year the Netherlands paid more than two billion euros to Brussels, or 0.36 percent of its national earnings.
The heavy Dutch net contribution has come under fire in the Netherlands, particularly from eurosceptic parties like the Freedom Party on the right and the Socialist Party on the left. Describing the Netherlands as the “gateway to Europe”, Mr Lewandowski said “We are of course conscious what is the mood in Dutch politics.”
The budget commissioner said it was important that EU contributions could rest on sufficient public support. He said a “compensation mechanism” was needed for the big EU net funders, adding that in future there would be “no big losers” in the EU budget balance.
In absolute terms Germany is the biggest net contributor to the EU, paying in more than 8 billion euros a year. The biggest net beneficiaries include Spain and Eastern European countries such as Poland and Bulgaria. Most of the money goes on agricultural subsidies and development in poorer member states.
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