Yesterday Merkel argued Germany puts more money into the European Union budget than it gets back, describing her nation as a “net payer”. However this morning the Prime Minister of Luxembourg hit back declaring that his country is also a “net payer” but that he “does not calculate” how much his country will get back as he is willing to pay more for the “European project”.
Mr Bettel said: “See, I’m a net payer as well but I don’t calculate how much I will get back, I know what Europe does for me.
“I live in peace, I studied in Greece and in France, I can get sick anywhere in Europe.
“I said yesterday my roaming costs, which no longer apply, were more expensive, than what I pay every day, these 1.50 euros I pay as a Luxembourger.
“I am willing to pay more for this European project.
“But if everyone is only focused on what it costs and not what it brings then we won’t get very far.”
He added: “Of course, we should be efficient, but it can’t be that countries that are well off now calculate where they can get their money back.
“As I said I’m a net payer myself and I am not asking for a rebate.
“If we have ambitions there should also be the possibility of achieving these ambitions and I am the first to say the tax money should be used well and more efficiently.
“But this shouldn’t mean that we should immediately cut 4,00 jobs or close European agencies, this does not mean that we won’t give ourselves the resources for the issues that are important for us.”
Yesterday Ms Merkel said regarding the issue: “Germany is here with the determination to find a solution, we can’t yet say whether this will work but I hope that we will at least make progress.
“We in Germany are not yet happy with the current state of negotiations because we believe that among the net payers the balance hasn’t yet been fully worked out.
“Of course it is clear that we pay in more money for the convergence than we get back, but this has to be well balanced among the net payers.
“All in all a complicated task. On one hand the justified expectations, for example by farmers in Europe, it is the most communitised politics, to account for this, to well equip the cohesion fund, but to also focus on modernity.
“We will try this and Germany will be very active in trying to find a solution.”
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