Brussels has gone into overdrive as the realisation dawns that the loss of tens of billions of pounds from one of its largest net contributors will have wide-reaching financial repercussions.
A report, compiled by EU parliament officials and obtained by express.co.uk, shows the extent to which MEPs are now planning for a much more frugal future and details which programmes could face the spending axe.
The EU wants huge spending rises in its 2018 budget, proposed by Gunther Oettinger yesterday
They include everything from the gargantuan Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), used predominantly to keep French farmers in business, through to agencies key to the EU’s migration and defence policies.
The document was circulated to budget committee members on the same day that the EU Commission published further details about how a Brexit divorce bill of up to £85 billion will be calculated.
In it, officials write: “Since the June 2016 referendum on the UK withdrawal from the EU, several of the EP committees dealing with implementation of the EU programmes have raised concerns over the total level of EU budget after Brexit.
“Among others, for example AFET [foreign affairs], AGRI [farming] and REGI [regional development] committees have discussed the EU budgets post-Brexit, recalling that the UK has been a net contributor to the EU budget.
“Several committees have pointed out that an issue that needs to be addressed during the Brexit negotiations is to what extent the UK plans to continue to participate in different EU programmes, agencies, and funds.”
The document goes on to list a “non-comprehensive list of budget topics, programmes and agencies highlighted by selected committees’ which will be affected by Brexit.
They include the “budgetary envelopes available to finance the CAP in its current form”, with the farm subsidy scheme still making up an astonishing 40 per cent of all EU spending.
Other major policies which could be affected are EU cohesion funds, which are used to pay for infrastructure projects in Eastern Europe, and the social fund, which is used to help alleviate sky-high unemployment on the continent.
MEPs have also raised the alarm about the future budgets of a number of key EU bodies which currently rely heavily on contributions from Britain to stay afloat.
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These include the nuclear watchdog Euratom, the European Food Safety Agency, the Horizon 2020 research project, the Erasmus student programme, the European Asylum Support Office and the European Defence Agency.
Brexit Negotiations: Britain's sternest enemies Tue, April 4, 2017
According to a new index, the EU27 countries fall into three groups: hard-core, hard and soft. These are the countries with the highest scores which indicate a fairly strong opposition to Britain’s position
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France has the highest score in the index at 32.5
On top of that euro MPs are trying to tie the UK into the bloc’s foreign aid spending until at least 2020 and also want us to continue contributing towards climate change programmes.
MEPs on the development committee observed that there is “no provision in the internal agreement on the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) exonerating a state from the obligation to pay if it exits the EU”.
Britain is the third largest net contributor to the EU project and last year put in around £8.6 billion more than it got back, according to official statistics.
The UK's payments equate to around 11-13 per cent of the bloc's entire budget, with other net contributors like Austria, Germany and the Netherlands insisting they will not pump in more cash to make up the shortfall.