BRUSSELS: The European Parliament urged national leaders meeting Friday to signficantly boost contributions to the bloc's post-2020 multi-year budget to plug a Brexit hole and meet new demands.
EU leaders should work to increase contributions from one percent of gross domestic product in the 2014-2020 budget to 1.3 percent in the next one, the parliament's budget committee said Thursday.
"It's a very strong message that the budget committee and the European Parliament is sending out on the eve of the informal summit of heads of state and government," budget committee chairman Jean Arthuis told a press conference.
MEPs said their call was based on input from other key parliament committees even if a full vote by the elected body must still be held.
Isabelle Thomas, a French MEP who is helping steer the proposal through parliament, said the budget committee wants the increase to 1.3 percent of GDP to "respond to Brexit and new priorities."
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, the EU executive, has called for nations to pay more into the EU budget after 2020 to fill a Brexit void and meet growing needs on defence, migration and climate change.
His budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger has called for raising contributions to between 1.1 percent of GDP and 1.2 percent of GDP.
He said Britain's exit could leave a hole of as much as 12 to 15 billion euros ($15-19 billion).
The European Parliament and the European Council, which groups the EU member states, will negotiate the details before finally approving the budget, with unanimity required in the council.
Jan Olbrycht of the EPP, the parliament's biggest political group, told reporters that EU leaders "should tell us what they would like to cut" if they do not agree with the proposal.
The Netherlands, Sweden and Austria, which are all net contributors to the budget, oppose increasing their contributions.
MEPs urged the member states to speed up their budget negotiations in order to reach a deal before European elections scheduled in 2019.