Balkan agriculture and social cohesion EU funds affected by Brexit?

Balkan agriculture and social cohesion EU funds affected by Brexit?

A policy brief by the independent German foundation and think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung that was published in January, refers to the possible lessening of funds given by the EU to the Central and Eastern European, or CEE, member states, namely Bulgaria and Romania, apart from the Visegrad countries (V4), (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).

So, apart from the V4, the CEE “were, until now, mainly associated with strong protection of the amounts of the structural funds and monies for the common agricultural policy. Yet now, aware of the new challenges, they support the necessity of incurring more costs for activities such as fighting terrorism or strengthening the EU’s role in the world. At the same time, the region is still struggling with weaker development. That is why the CEE countries call for further financing of the cohesion policy, and a majority of the countries would like to see equal treatment of their countries’ farmers with their peers in Western Europe”, reads the brief.

According to “Central and East European EU member states face a battle to preserve lucrative EU funds for agriculture and social cohesion” ahead of Brexit while, Bulgaria and Romania in particular, “have already expressed firm opposition to some of the ideas presented in the Commission’s June 2017 document, ‘Reflection paper on the future of EU finances'”, notes the  Bertellsman Stiftung brief.

Specialists’ calculations speak of 6 billion-euro losses per year, due to Britain’s exit from the 28-state bloc, with the EC having said that, almost 3 billion euros of the total 6 must come from savings and the rest from other, fresh sources. Moreover, it has been underlined that Bulgaria and Romania gain a lot from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and cohesion funds, but Germany and Britain (as the strongest states financially wise) top the EU list of net losers under the CAP.

The German think tank has predicted that the post-2020 MMF debate ‘will be very sharp’, “with ‘old’ Europe demanding savings to expensive budgets, and also greater conditionality, in terms of adherence to the rule of law – and with ‘new’ Europe resisting all the above”, reports…/IBNA

Photo: The Bertelsmann Stiftung / Wikipedia