As the Deputy will be aware, on 21st July 2020, Heads of State and Government reached agreement on the Post-2020 MFF and recovery plan Next Generation EU, totalling €1.82 trillion. Difficult discussions took place over four days, but the Government has welcomed this agreement. It is a fair and balanced outcome and demonstrates that Europe can work collectively to deal with this once-in-a-generation crisis. Council conclusions set out the leaders’ agreement for the European Commission to borrow €750 billion, supporting Member States with €390 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans. Agreement was also reached on a new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) from 2021 to 2027, totalling €1.074 trillion, which will support rural and regional development, and the transformation of our economies in line with the climate transition, research and development, and digital agendas.
Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU Budget since 2014, and this position is set to grow further over the course of the next MFF. In May 2020, the European Commission produced a needs assessment underpinning the proposed Next Generation EU. In this needs assessment the European Commission estimated that Ireland’s contributions to the Next Generation EU package would in the region of approximately €18.7 billion over the next thirty years and estimated that Ireland would potentially receive a total of up to €2 billion in grants, with a further €1 billion in loans available up to 2024 should Ireland decide to borrow same. However, these estimates were overtaken by the European Council agreement of 21 July 2020.
Ireland’s contributions to the EU Budget are projected to increase considerably over the coming period in all scenarios as a result of economic growth in recent years. Irish contributions to the EU budget are expected to rise over the coming MFF period from approximately €3 billion in 2021, to approximately €4 billion in 2027, an average of €3.5 billion.
Exact contributions to the repayment of Next Generation EU borrowing are yet to be determined but are expected to be significant, and will depend significantly on what new own resources arrangements are agreed. It is not possible to give an accurate overall figure until we make a decision on new own resources at EU level. At this time of crisis, the Covid recovery funds are needed now, and will be received by Member States up to 2026, but will be paid back over 30+ years. These repayments are not expected to begin for a number of years yet, and the contribution Ireland will make will depend on our share of the overall EU budget over the course of those repayments.