Agreement on EU's next multiannual budget before mid-2019 tough to achieve: Lithuanian diplomat to EU

Lithuanian ambassador to the EU Jovita Neliupšienė

The European Union is facing tense negotiations on its next multiannual budget, and the goal to reach the agreement before the next European elections might be challenging to achieve due to various factors including Brexit, Jovita Neliupšienė, Lithuania's ambassador to the EU, said on Tuesday.

"The opinion prevails that it would be favorable to agree on 2021-2027 budget before the elections next May, in order for the current European Parliament to vote on the budget next April," Neliupšienė said in an interview with Lithuania's leading business daily Verslo Žinios.

However, despite "the good will to agree before the mid-2019, the reality could be more complicated", Neliupšienė said.

"For example, Brexit will undoubtedly have impact on negotiations on the next multiannual framework as we still don't have the exact timetable and conditions for UK's withdrawal from the EU, we don't have answers to all questions," the Lithuanian diplomat underlined.

According to her, there are few possible outcomes regarding the EU's budget negotiations.

"Either there will be the agreement before the mid-2019, or the haggling will take more time, possibly until the second half of 2020," said Neliupšienė.

In her words, Lithuania's will seek for the best possible outcome during the negotiations as regards funding from the EU cohesion and agricultural funds, sufficient funding for the decommissioning of Ignalina nuclear power plant, Rail Baltica and other strategic projects.

Lithuania also stands for bigger funding in the areas of security, research and development, tackling youth unemployment, promoting investments, Neliupšienė added.

The European Commission proposed the draft 2021-2027 budget in May this year and urged the EU to reach the agreement before the European Parliament elections and the EU summit in Sibiu on May 9, 2019.

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