In the dispute over the EU budget, the new EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn from Germany would like more flexibility. The Germans owed "their prosperity to the EU". Now they should "show what Europe is worth to them". The Federal Government should therefore show more willingness to compromise, the Austrian told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

The Finnish EU Council Presidency presented a proposal in early December that envisages a budget of 1,087.3 billion euros for the period from 2021 to 2027. That would be 1.07 percent of the EU's economic output. Germany and other net contributors like Austria and the Netherlands want to keep the budget at the previous one percent.

The EU summit last week instructed the new Council President Charles Michel to find a solution to the dispute over the next multi-annual budget. EU countries will have to agree on a financial framework for the six years in the course of the coming year. On this basis, the annual budgets will be decided later. The debate is also difficult because, on the one hand, new EU tasks are to be financed and, on the other hand, billions of euros will be missing after Britain's exit from the EU.

"6.3 million euros more is manageable"

If the EU Commission asserts itself with its proposal for a budgetary framework amounting to 1.11 percent of the common economic power, Hahn would have to transfer around 6.3 billion euros more to the EU compared to 2020. "I think that is manageable - the federal budget has also increased over the past seven years," said Hahn. The European domestic market contributed almost six percent to Germany's gross domestic product, said Hahn. That is why transfers of just over one percent are "comparatively small".

The EU saves on agricultural and regional funding, for example. On the other hand, the community is facing enormous challenges, for which appropriate funds are necessary, said Hahn, naming the consequences of climate change. EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen had estimated the costs of combating climate change during her legislative period at one billion euros. The money for this European Green Deal, says von der Leyen, should come from the EU budget, from the member states and from the private sector.

Germany will assume the European Council Presidency in the second half of 2020 and, according to Hahn, will "have an additional responsibility".