Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra has insisted the Netherlands will not make up the shortfall in the European Union’s budget when the United Kingdom leaves the bloc next year.
Hoekstra was responding to calls by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker for the remaining 27 members to raise their contributions to 1% of GDP.
The immediate cost of Brexit to the EU is estimated at €12 billion a year, but Hoekstra told business news channel RTL Z: ‘It cannot be right that those who experience the greatest damage from Brexit are the ones who end up paying the bill.’
Hoekstra said the Netherlands was in the ‘front line’ of any Brexit impact because of the potential consequences of new trade tariffs on industries such as fishing and aviation.
The minister called on the EU to make up for the funding gap through efficiency savings. Responding to Juncker’s comment that EU budget contributions are equivalent to a cup of coffee per day per citizen, Hoekstra said: ‘It’s an attractive comparison, but I always ask if it’s a cheap cup of coffee or an expensive one.’