Zalm: don't share bonanza with new EU states

13th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 May 2004, AMSTERDAM — Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm has spoken out against the European Commission's plans to divide a EUR 5.5 billion windfall between all 25 members of the European Union.

13 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm has spoken out against the European Commission's plans to divide a EUR 5.5 billion windfall between all 25 members of the European Union.

Zalm believes the 10 new members who joined on 1 May have no right to a share of the money because they were not in the EU when the budget surplus — made up of contributions from member states — was built up.

The Dutch minister wants rebates to be restricted to the 15 nations which made up the EU prior to the enlargement at the beginning of this month, newspaper De Volkskrant said.

The German European Commission Michaele Schreyer has said in contrast it is right all members should benefit, with the newer states receiving a "modest share". She said it had been agreed that all members would benefit from such windfalls.

Zalm is particularly insistent that the pay out be denied to the new member states as the Netherlands had counted on its portion of the windfall as part of its drive to shave EUR 17 billion from government spending by 2007. The rebate from Brussels would have cut the Dutch contribution to the EU budget this year. 

If the 10 member states — from Central and Eastern Europe, plus Malta and Cyprus — don't get a bite of the surplus cherry, the Netherlands could expect to get EUR 250 million from Brussels. Including the new members in the payout would cut that to about EUR 200 million.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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