Dutch Say Nations Hit By Brexit Shouldn’t Plug EU Budget Hole

  • Hoekstra says split will hurt some countries more than others
  • Netherlands is concerned about impact of Brexit on EU budget

Wopke Hoekstra

Photographer: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

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Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said European Union countries that are set to suffer the most from Brexit shouldn’t also have to help plug the hole it will tear in the bloc’s budget.

“A small group of countries on the west coast of Europe is hit very hard in the economy by Brexit, which applies primarily to Ireland, but also to the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and a number of other countries,” Hoekstra said in interview with Dutch TV station RTL Z. “It cannot be the intention that those who already experience the damage of Brexit will also pay the bill.”

While the remaining 27 EU countries are maintaining a united front in Brexit talks, national interests diverge when it comes to the future trading relationship and splits are starting to emerge. The Netherlands is one of the EU countries keenest on securing a trade deal with the U.K. that doesn’t harm crucial commercial trade ties between the two countries, whose ports face each other across the North Sea.

Hoekstra met his Spanish counterpart Luis de Guindos last week and the pair agreed they both wanted a Brexit deal that keeps the U.K. as close to the EU as possible, according to a person familiar with the situation. A Spanish economy ministry official said last week the two finance chiefs had underlined the importance of U.K. ties for both countries, and agreed to keep track of their common interests.

The U.K. will continue to pay into the current budget until the end of 2020; after that a new seven-year budget cycle comes into effect. The U.K. is a net contributor to the current budget, which redistributes funds across the bloc.

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