Europe Ministers likely to clash over euro zone budget next week

Ministers likely to clash over euro zone budget next week

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European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium June 30, 2019.

European Union finance ministers are likely to clash next week over how to finance a future budget for the 19 countries sharing the euro, as time runs out to reach a deal for an issue that EU leaders set as a priority in June.

The budget is to be part of the wider, long-term EU budget for all 27 post-Brexit members, talks on which are already under way.

France and several southern European countries want a large euro zone budget funded by dedicated taxes and able to stabilize economies hit by an unexpected shock.

The Netherlands and its northern European allies want a small budget funded only from the existing EU budget and used for investment or to support structural reforms.

“Positions have not changed over the summer,” said a senior EU official involved in the preparation of next Friday’s talks in Helsinki.

Ministers will discuss issues including financing and the mechanisms for allocations on Friday. They have been working on the euro zone budget since December but the differing views mean progress has been slow, the official said.

“I hope already in October … will be able to finalize this work,” he said. “… (But) I don’t know if we can solve this before (then).”

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