For the first time, the two most powerful institutions of the EU will be under the presidency of two powerful women. Two women, who are coincidentally politicians from the same country, namely Germany.
Angela Merkel (Right)
The New President of the European Council
Since 1. January 2020 Croatia has held the Presidency of the Council of the EU, a position which rotates to a nominated member state every 6 months. The last time Britain held this post was July-December 2005 headed up by PM Tony Blair.
As of 1. July 2020, Germany, represented by Chancellor Angela Merkel will take over the EU Council until the end of the year.
Ursula von der Leyen (Left)
President of the European Commission
The current President of the European Commission is Ursula von der Leyen, (ex-defence minister of Germany) who took office on 1st December 2019 for a 5 year tenure replacing Jean-Claud Juncker. What is surprising, is that she had never set foot in Brussels up to the time of her appointment considering that this is by far the most powerful position of all the EU institutions.
How will this affect Brexit negotiations?
The dynamics will certainly change from that of the sometimes bitter and twisted Juncker/Tusk (Belgium/Poland) regime. I believe the influence of women, and German interests will work in Britain’s favour contributing toward a fairer deal. It should not be underestimated the importance placed on selling German cars and goods to the fifth largest economy in the world.
Germany set to increase EU contributions by 42%
According to “REUTERS” the European Commission (under Ursula von der Leyen) has proposed that member states should contribute around 1.075% of their gross domestic product (GDP) into the budget over the next seven years.
For Germany, this would amount to an increase of around 42% on their current contributions of €31bn per year.
Is Brexit to Blame?
The additional 13 billion euros (11.7 billion pounds) annually (increasing contributions to 44 billion euros) is partly due to the shortfall caused by the UK exiting the EU.
This increase does not include any contributions for the planned coronavirus recovery fund which comes on top of this figure. A virtual meeting of the EU Commission is to be held on Friday to discuss the EU budget for 2021-27.
There has been no comment from the German government as of yet. The exact amount has yet to be calculated as some crucial details of the Commission's proposal were still missing.
In the unlikely event of the UK being forced to extend the transition period it would mean the UK increasing their EU contributions by around 400 million euro per month.