May 2, 2018 / 1:41 PM / a year ago

Germany wants 'fair burden sharing' across EU after Brexit

FILE PHOTO: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Finance Minister and vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the cabinet meeting at German government guesthouse Meseberg Palace in Meseberg, Germany, April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s finance and foreign ministers called on Wednesday for fair burden-sharing between European Union member states in the 2021-27 budget period, when the bloc will have to fill the funding gap left by Britain’s exit next year.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the EU to better focus its future budget on protecting the bloc’s external borders, joint defence policy, and on innovation.

Earlier on Wednesday, the European Commission proposed a bigger new multi-year budget for the 2021-27 period that would trim the biggest single item, farm subsidies, by five percent.

It would spend more on research and technology, foreign aid, euro zone stability, compensation for job losses from open trade and on joint defence and frontier guards.

“We are ready to take responsibility for strengthening the European Union - but this requires a fair burden-sharing of all Member States,” Scholz and Maas said in a joint statement.

“The proposal of the EU Commission would considerably increase the additional burden on Germany,” they added.

“Even with an EU budget of one percent of gross national income (GNI), Germany would have to pay an average of up to 10 billion euros (8.8 billion pounds) per year more from 2021 onwards.”

Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Writing by Paul Carrel, Editing by William Maclean

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