Monday 18 November 2019

The Netherlands faces extra Brussels payment of €642m (update)

The Netherlands will have to pay an extra €642m to the European Union this year because of new gross domestic product calculations, according to the Financial Times.

The FT has published a list of the impact of the new calculations on member states, which shows the Netherlands, Britain and Italy have to pay substantial sums. Most countries will get a rebate.

Earlier reports that the new calculations include income from prostitution and the illegal drugs trade are not true, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is quoted as saying by broadcaster Nos.

Small revisions happen more often but such a big surcharge is a real surprise, Dijssebloem said. EU member states’ contributions to Brussels are based on their GDP.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said in a reaction that the calculation method has not changed but the Dutch economic situation has been recalculated for the past four years.

Britain

The Netherlands has to pay more because the economy has done better than expected, the prime minister is quoted as saying by broadcaster Nos.

According to the Financial Times, Rutte has met British prime minister David Cameron to discuss the surcharges and said he is considering possible legal action to reverse the ruling.

‘This is an unpleasant surprise and raises many questions,’ Rutte told the Financial Times. ‘We will get to the bottom of this and of course will be asking for detailed clarifications from the commission.’

Britain also faces a bill of some €2bn while some countries, like Germany, France and Poland will get money back, the Financial Times says.

Dutch MPs from across the political spectrum have been quick to call for an explanation.

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