The Latest: Austrian leader: EU budget not acceptable

BRUSSELS — The latest on Wednesday's European Union budget proposals (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says while there are positive elements to the proposed European Union budget, it's not acceptable in its current form.

Kurz told reporters Wednesday that "for us an acceptable solution is still a long way away" and that he was counting on "hard and long negotiations."

He says he found the considerations for the EU's external borders positive, but that the current proposal places too heavy a burden on the net contributors to the budget.

He says the Brexit situation should be taken as an opportunity to become more economical and more efficient.

His Austrian People's Party faction in European Parliament struck a more positive note, saying the proposal was "a step in the right direction and a suitable basis for tough negotiations."

___

4:45 p.m.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the European Commission's proposed new seven-year budget is unacceptable because it will mean the Netherlands' EU bill will increase too much.

In a statement Wednesday, Rutte said that the smaller EU that will come after the exit of Britain "must also mean a smaller budget." He says that means making tough choices.

The Netherlands is one of the wealthier governments that contributes more to the European Union than it gets back. Rutte has been pushing for budgetary restraint in the aftermath of Brexit.

Earlier, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled a 2021-2027 budget worth 1.135 trillion euros ($1.36 trillion).

Rutte says the Netherlands will negotiate hard "for a modern budget in which the burdens are shared fairly."

___

4:15 p.m.

Polish officials have reacted with relief to the proposed long-term European Union's spending plan, saying the cuts and shifts in spending are much less painful than had been expected.

Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski said Poland "appreciates" that the proposals from the European Commission are largely safeguarding spending in Central and Eastern Europe.

However, Szymanski conceded that compromises are still needed during the long budget process ahead.

Another member of Poland's ruling right-wing party, Zdzislaw Krasnodebski who is European Parliament's deputy speaker, said the cuts in future funding are "minimal."

Krasnodebski said "none of the black scenarios" are on the horizon.

Warsaw is involved in a dispute with EU leaders over its rule of law record that had raised concerns that it would face significant punitive cuts in spending.

___

3 p.m.

The German government said the European Commission's budget proposal provided a good basis for the beginning of negotiations on the future of the EU's finances.

In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz noted that the proposal would "considerably increase" the financial burden on Germany.

They said that under the proposals, Germany would need to pay an average of up to 10 billion euros ($12 billion) more a year from 2021.

"We are willing to fulfill our responsibilities for strengthening the European Union but this also requires a fair burden-sharing of all member states," the pair said.

In the upcoming discussions which are likely to take months, they added that Germany will push to "sustainably strengthen the European Union's capability for action over the next seven years" and enforce a "fundamental modernization" of EU spending.

Among other priorities, Germany is looking for better protection for the EU's external borders and increased cooperation in joint defense policy.

___

2 p.m.

The European Union's executive branch has proposed a budget to finance new priorities like defense and border control as well as compensating for Britain's departure from the bloc.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday that the 2021-2027 budget will be "bigger than the preceding one, because it will determine the future of our Europe of 27" members.

The Commission unveiled a seven-year spending package worth 1.135 trillion euros ($1.36 trillion), which accounts for around 1.1 percent of the bloc's total output.

Agricultural funding and "cohesion funds" that help raise the infrastructure standards of poorer states are both to be cut by around 5 percent.

The Commission is also seeking powers to suspend or restrict funding to countries whose rule of law standards might pose financial risks.

People also read these

Austria to sue Airbus over suspected Eurofighter...

Feb 16, 2017

US-AUSTRIA-AIRBUS-GROUP:Austria to sue Airbus over suspected Eurofighter fraud: APA news agency

Shipulin holds off Fourcade to give Russia...

Feb 18, 2017

US-BIATHLON-WORLD:Shipulin holds off Fourcade to give Russia biathlon relay title

Dominant Hirscher takes Alpine skiing slalom gold

Feb 19, 2017

US-ALPINE-WORLD-MEN:Dominant Hirscher takes Alpine skiing slalom gold

Turkey says does not welcome comments from...

Feb 27, 2017

US-TURKEY-REFERENDUM-AUSTRIA:Turkey says does not welcome comments from Austria on Erdogan visit

Austria's foreign minister suggests halving...

Mar 1, 2017

US-EUROPE-AUSTRIA:Austria's foreign minister suggests halving number of EU commissioners

Sign up now!