The EU hasn’t said Brexit will collapse the EU budget

Published: 12th Jun 2019

In brief

Claim

The EU admits its budget will collapse without financial contribution from the UK.

Conclusion

Incorrect. The EU is preparing a draft budget for 2021-2027, involving increased contributions and decreased spending in some areas to account for the UK’s departure.

A viral post on Facebook claims the EU has admitted its budget will collapse without UK contributions following Brexit. It’s incorrect.

When we asked the European Commission (the body that proposes the budget) their spokesperson said the EU has not said this, and that claims that the EU would collapse because of the financial implications of Brexit were exaggerated.

The claim may well originate in a 2017 Express article (which has a similarly worded headline) which reported on the fact that the EU would be left with a financial gap to fill.

That’s because the UK is a net contributor to the EU budget, meaning it pays more into the budget than it receives back in the form of things like agricultural subsidies. The European Commission has also previously said that Brexit will leave a “sizeable gap” in its budget.

The fact the EU has a budget gap to fill post-Brexit doesn’t mean it will collapse.

While the next EU budget for 2021-2027 hasn’t been finalised, draft plans account for the UK leaving. The European Commission said:

“The Commission’s proposal takes fair account of the impact of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, through a balanced combination of reductions/redeployments and an increase of expenditure (proportionally roughly 50% each).”

A Commission spokesperson told us the provisional deadline to sign off the budget is in autumn this year.

This article is part of our work factchecking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false as there is no evidence the EU said this, they have said they did not say this, and it appears from draft budgets that the EU will continue to finance itself post-Brexit.

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