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Baltic states agree on four common priorities for coming EU budget

Flags of the Baltic states
Flags of the Baltic states Source: (Haridus- ja Teadusministeerium)

The European Union's 2021-2027 budget needs to prioritize better connections, the more evenly spread development and well-being of different regions, fairer direct subsidies paid to farmers, and funding issues regarding migration and security policies, the leaders of the Baltic states specified on Thursday.

According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), his Latvian colleague Māris Kučinskis, and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, the integration of the EU's different regions and transport and energy networks needs to continue. The same also applies to the development of the digital infrastructure and services of the union.

The most important strategic projects are integrating the Baltic states with the EU's electricity network and the construction of the Rail Baltica railway project, the heads of government said.

Support for the less developed EU members out of the union's structural funds needs to continue, they found. As economies and states get stronger, support should be reduced in line with the development recorded.

Subsidies paid to the agricultural sector should in the future focus on creating fairer market conditions. The policy of the same subsidies for everyone should be brought to an end.

Ratas, Kučinskis, and Grybauskaitė also specified areas of cooperation that will require funding out of the EU's next budget. They include migration, internal as well as external security, the defense of the union's external borders, the fight against terrorism, and strengthening cybersecurity as well as defense cooperation. The EU's neighborhood politics also required funding, they stated.

The Baltic states are convinced that the union's budget needs to be set at more than 1 percent of the EU's combined gross domestic product (GDP). This means that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania want to discuss with their counterparts in other EU member states how the current budget levels can be sustained beyond Brexit and its impact on the union's revenue, and that they are ready to contribute more as well.

The EU's heads of government will discuss the next budget period on Feb. 23 in Brussels. The aim of the summit is to get to a common position regarding the size of the next budget, and to agree on a timeframe for the budget negotiations.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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