Costs of EU membership are set to soar again under Commission’s latest budget ‘revisions’

Graham Charles Lear
3 min readJun 22, 2023

Remember this, bookmark it if you can because this is quite important seeing as there is a GE coming up and Labours David Lammy MP has let the cat out of the bag that Labour will be working to get the UK back into the EU once they regain power.

Brexit Britain dodges another (£118 billion) EU bullet

A series of Brussels announcements yesterday pile extra costs onto EU member countries

In Brussels yesterday there were a series of announcements involving increases in the money the Commission proposes to take from the EU’s member countries.

The Commission carefully failed to tally the new burden, so I have done so and it comes to a whopping €137.4 billion (c. £118 bn GBP).

New, EXTRA EU membership costs, avoided by Brexit

  • €50 billion — A “Ukraine facility”, based on grants, loans and guarantees in the period 2024–2027 to cater for Ukraine’s modernisation on its path to EU membership
  • €2 billion — migration and border control plus the “New Pact on Migration”
  • €10.5 billion — “Neighbourhood and the world”
  • €2.5 billion — “Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve”
  • €3 billion — “InvestEU”
  • €0.5 billion — “Horizon Europe”
  • €5 billion — “the Innovation Fund”
  • €1.5 billion — “the European Defence Fund”
  • €15 billion — Extra borrowing costs
  • €1.9 billion — Extra Brussels administration
  • €16 billion — Extra contribution from member countries based on their companies’ profits
  • €28 billion — “Emissions Trading System”, 2024–2027
  • €1.5 billion per year — Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)
  • TOTAL EXTRA — €137.4 billion (circa £118 billion GBP)

[Source: EU Commission, 21 Jun 2023.]

What the EU Commission said about all these new costs

Here is how the Austrian Johannes Hahn, the EU’s Commissioner for Budget and Administration, described all of this yesterday in Brussels

“The multiple challenges over the past years have exhausted [the Commission’s] flexibilities and capacity to react to future crises. If we want to be able to continue to rely on it, we need to act now.

“Today’s proposed revision is a realistic and targeted way forward.”

- Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Budget and Administration, 20 Jun 2023

Reading through all of the various statements there are elements which are opaque. For example, it is unclear whether some of the extra costs above are annual or whether they cover the current budget period which runs to 2027. In total, I have taken a conservative approach. The true extra costs could be even higher.

Brexit Britain has dodged yet another EU bullet

As is so often the case, the EU Commission has provided a lot of verbiage but no executive summary of the extra costs involved in EU membership. If I were German Chancellor Olaf Scholz or French President Emmanuel Macron I would demand a simple spreadsheet — with an annual total of the extra costs.

In overall terms, the EU Commission puts the blame on Ukraine, increased immigration, inflation, and interest rate rises.

Given the opacity of the various statements produced by Brussels yesterday, I have done the best I could to summarise the increased costs. It must be remembered that the United Kingdom was the second-biggest funder of the EU after Germany.

I simply can’t say how many extra billions the UK would pay to Brussels if it were ever to rejoin. What is abundantly clear, is the fact that we would have to PAY most of it if we were still in the EU. It's also abundantly clear that Brexit Britain has dodged another big Brussels bullet.

Sources: EU Commission

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.