As the Deputy will be aware, the European Commission’s proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 was published on 2nd May 2018. I welcome the publication of the proposals which marks the start of an important debate on the future of the EU budget. The proposals come at a time of great change and adjustment for the EU; with new priorities (including migration, security, climate change etc.) and the departure of UK.
As the Deputy will be aware, with Ireland’s growing prosperity we have moved from being a net beneficiary to a net contributor to the EU budget. As such, it is important that the next MFF be an appropriately sized spending plan for the EU27 in a post-Brexit era, and that it will be capable of meeting the priorities of the EU27. Negotiations on those priorities and how they should be funded will be complex.
Further, in relation to Brexit, given the UK’s current status as one of the largest net contributors to the EU budget, Brexit will have a significant impact on EU budget funding and expenditure. Should the draft Withdrawal Agreement be concluded the UK Government will continue to make contributions into the EU budget for the years 2019 and 2020 as if it were a full member and to continue to pay a contribution during a transition period for a time thereafter. However, as the Deputy will appreciate, while the draft withdrawal agreement was recently published, these negotiations are still on-going, therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to discuss those negotiations or the potential impact on Ireland's net contribution to the EU budget in detail at this point.
Finally, in relation to contributions for the years 2020 to 2023, as part of Budget 2019, my Department forecasted contributions of €2.9bn, €3.1bn, €3.2bn and €3.4bn respectively. However, it is worth noting that these forecasts are contingent on a number of variables, including updated GNI forecasts, the size of the overall EU budget for the year and other EU budget operational developments. As a result, all forecasts will be monitored and updated on an ongoing basis.