February 23, 2018 / 2:16 PM / in 8 months

Portugal PM backs higher EU contributions, new taxes post-Brexit

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal wants member states to contribute more to the European Union’s budget and is proposing three new taxes to finance what will be a 27-strong bloc after Britain leaves it, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Friday.

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa arrives at a European Union leaders informal summit in Brussels, Belgium, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

In televised comments made in Brussels before the start of an informal EU summit, Costa said Portugal supported the idea of a common EU tax on international financial transactions, as well as levies on digital platforms and companies that pollute.

“With less contributions (post-Brexit) every state should be ready to give more, just as Portugal is ready to contribute more to the EU,” Costa said, calling for member contributions to rise to 1.2 percent of gross national income from 1 percent now.

Some member states argue they should not pay more and the EU budget should be cut instead to compensate for Britain’s exit.

Twenty months after Britons voted to leave the EU, London and Brussels are still negotiating the terms of the divorce. Britain is due to leave the bloc in March 2019 with a transition period to follow that Brussels proposes will end on Dec. 31, 2020.

“But it is also important for the EU to have new own resources so as not to simply depend on contributions by the member states ... It would be good to have the two forms balanced out,” Costa said, urging the current EU parliament to approve such changes before its term ends in mid-2019.

“It’s a difficult issue for all of us, but postponing it would be worse. If we get to the (European parliament) election with this problem solved, this will be a signal of confidence to all Europeans about the future of the our union.”

Reporting By Sergio Goncalves; Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Catherine Evans

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