While the EU Commission’s request for member states to contribute an additional €65.8 billion as a revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework was ignored by German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, discussions are not over, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s office said on Wednesday.
Due to rising inflation and the war in Ukraine, the EU Commission asked its member states for an additional €65.8 billion as part of a revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework.
However, the proposal had fallen on deaf ears in the German finance ministry even before its final publication, where fiscally hawkish Lindner emphasised that he would not sign off any new money to Brussels.
But discussions on the issue are all but over, Scholz’s office said on Wednesday.
“All member states are now in the process of examining these [proposals] intensively,” a senior government official said on Wednesday in Berlin, adding that the “proposals are very fresh.”
Shortly before the European Commission presented its proposal, Lindner stepped forward preemptively to declare that there was no way for Germany to increase its contribution to the EU budget.
Lindner, who has declared himself a “friendly hawk”, said that “given the necessary cuts in our national budget, we cannot subscribe to additional contributions to the European Union budget at this time.”
However, the senior government official later backpedalled, declaring that “we do not want to decide in advance in individual [financial] areas now.”
This fault line between the fiscally conservative Lindner and his coalition parties recently resurfaced nationally.
At the end of May, Lindner introduced strict saving targets for the German ministries to close the existing financial gap of €20 billion. Since then, Lindner has somewhat softened his penny-pitching approach. However, the issue remains controversial in the German government.
After a lengthy process of finding an agreement, the German budget will be signed off next week – the last possible date before the parliamentary summer recess.
(Kjeld Neubert | EURACTIV.de)
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