EU finance ministers agree to extend deadline to pay extra EU budget bills

“The ministers discussed what should be done now when several countries have found themselves obliged to pay burdensome amounts to the European Union. The main sufferers in this case are the UK and the Netherlands. Those extra contributions, which exceed 9 billion euros, are the first such unique case. The last time, when the statistical data was recalculated in 2011, it was necessary to pay extra 3 billion euros and that amount was three times as small,” Rimantas Sadzius told BNS by phone from Brussels after attending the ECOFIN meeting.

The proposal to give extra time to pay extra bills won support from all countries, he said.

“Today, we have agreed on the principles that the extra amount payable, extra payments may be spread until Sept. 1 of the subsequent year in exceptional cases, which still need to be defined. Such a provision won support from all 28 delegations,” Sadzius told BNS.

According to the minister, the Commission would submit specific legislative proposals, which should be discussed next week.

Lithuania may receive 18.2 million euros back after the European Commission has reviewed Member States’ contributions to this year’s EU budget. This money may be included in the country’s contribution into next year’s budget.

Sadzius could not tell whether or not today’s decision on additional time to pay extra contributions might affect the recovery of those funds.

“No one can tell these details today since we still don’t have any specific draft decisions as to how the amounts should be calculated and when, how the surplus money should be paid back and when… As far as Lithuania is concerned, those adjustments are not significant. They do not lead to any essential changes in the structure of payments to the EU…,” the minister said.

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