EU Council’s President calls budget meeting

European Union's President Charles Michel.

European Council President Charles Michel has called a meeting of EU leaders for February 20 to decide on the bloc’s long-term budget for the next seven years, an issue that has split the 27 countries because of different priorities and Britain’s exit.

“The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the Multi-annual Financial Framework.

“Any postponement would create serious practical and political problems and jeopardise the continuation of current programs and policies as well as the launch of new ones,”  Michel said in a statement, referring to the 2021-2027 joint budget, urging all the countries to compromise.

Britain’s withdrawal from the EU means there will be less money at the same time as the European Commission under new leader Ursula von der Leyen wants funding for tackling climate change and migration.

While the EU executive has proposed a budget of 1.11% of the gross national income of the 27 member states, the European Parliament is aiming for 1.3%, while some countries are pushing for no more than 1%.

Amaka E. Nliam