European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (R) looks at Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis (L) during a press conference at the end of the sixth round of Negotiation on 'Brexit' talks at the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov. 10, 2017. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)
BERLIN, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Germany faces a steep hike in its annual European Union (EU) membership contributions as a consequence of Brexit, German media reported on Friday.
According to a financial assessment of the European Parliament cited by the "Funke" media group, Berlin would have to cover around 3.8 billion euros (4.43 billion U.S. dollars) of a net annual EU household funding gap of 10.2 billion euros left by Britain after its departure. This would amount to an increase of 16 percent compared to Germany's current yearly cost of membership.
As long as Britain was a member of the EU, countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden benefited from being partially compensated for the "British rebate" on membership contributions. Brexit will render the corresponding agreement nil and void, however, forcing some countries to contribute a larger share towards EU budgets.
Nevertheless, the European Parliament report noted that a significant degree of uncertainty remains as to how high post-Brexit membership fees will ultimately be.
EU officials are also discussing about the possibility of lowering the bloc's overall expenditure, or raising new taxes, to offset the costs caused by Britain's decision to leave.
British Brexit Secretary David Davis announced on Thursday night that London would enshrine in law March 29 at 2300 GMT as the exact date when Britain ceases to be a member of the EU. He hereby responded to growing concerns amongst Eurosceptic members of his Conservative party that Brexit could be postponed, or even reversed.
Meanwhile, the sixth round of Brexit negotiations between the EU and British representatives has begun in Brussels.
Although British Prime Minister Theresa May has signalled her country's willingness to make further concessions on the "divorce bill" worth 60 billion euros demanded by the EU, German media reports on Friday claimed that a new conflict has now erupted in the diplomatic talks over the future of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Britain's Northern Ireland.
Brussels has called for Northern Ireland to remain within the EU Customs Union to prevent the creation of a "hard border", a solution which senior British politicians have repeatedly rejected as "impossible". (1 euro = 1.17 U.S. dollars)