BRUSSELS – European Union heads of state and government met in Brussels on Friday for an informal summit in which they are to examine a post-2020 budget and remodeling of the European Parliament after Brexit.
The United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 19, 2019, meaning the bloc could be faced with a 10-billion-euro ($12 billion) hole in its member state contributions, while the number of representatives in the European Parliament is also to drop from 751 to 705.
“If we want to have new priorities, new policies and if we can’t reduce to the right extent old policies, then countries have to pay more,” said President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker as he arrived for the meeting.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz insisted that EU taxpayers should not cover the shortfall from Brexit.
Following the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc, the European Parliament is also to be reduced in size.
In his welcome letter ahead of Friday’s meeting, European Council President Donald Tusk proposed that “the remaining seats would be kept as a reserve for future EU enlargements.”
The European elections of 2019 would, in that case, bring about a smaller Parliament, he added.
An announcement on any conclusions reached is expected later on Friday.