07:56 GMT +320 July 2019
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    Denmark Reluctant to Recompense EU for UK's Departure

    © AFP 2019 / Scanpix Denmark/ NIKOLAI LINARES
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    Brexit: Article 50 Triggered (52)

    The United Kingdom's departure from the European Union has left a considerable gap in the EU budget, which is unlikely to be plugged in full. Denmark, like neighboring Sweden, has declined the perspective of paying higher membership fees to make up for the UK's departure.

    Danish Finance Minister Kristian Jensen assured that the UK's now imminent departure from the EU will not result in a more expensive membership for Denmark, which currently benefits from a membership discount due to the contribution made by the UK.

    According to Jensen, Denmark's primary concern would be the total amount Denmark pays for its membership.

    "The important thing is what Denmark has to pay. And I don't think we should pay a single krone more than we do now," Kristian Jensen said, as quoted by Danish newspaper Altinget.

    Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands all currently benefit from a discount on their EU membership fee, which is measured proportionally to the UK's rebate. Once the UK disappears from the EU, the rebate goes with it, and so does the basis for other countries receiving discounts.

    The British membership discount dates back to the 1980s, when Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher negotiated cheaper membership for the UK with the motto "I want my money back."

    Like Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who earlier this week called on the EU to shrink its budget in order to tackle the multi-billion dollar hole left in the EU coffers after Brexit, Jensen underlined the need for the EU to adjust its budget according to the income change after Brexit.

    "The EU must make sure that it adjusts its cost according to the income sources it has. Including after Brexit," Kristian Jensen said.

    In 2013, former Danish Social Democratic Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt pushed through an agreement saving the country 1 billion DKK ($140mln) on its EU fees, with the justification that Denmark's membership was costing more than the economic support it received from the union.

    The UK accounted for about 15 percent of the EU budget or around $23 billion per year, which vanishes from the EU's coffers after Brexit. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson expressed their concern over the perspective of having Sweden's annual EU fee increased by $1.2 billion following the loss of the UK's contribution.

    Prime Minister Stefan Löfven made it clear that Sweden would not accept a membership fee hike, urging the EU to learn to cut its coat according to its cloth.


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    Brexit: Article 50 Triggered (52)


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