So-called cohesion funds for newer member states could be cut by as much as 6 percent to make room for these other kinds of aid.
Of course, the talk of cuts also comes in the context of Britain’s exit from the European Union, along with its hefty contributions.
Some countries, like France, Germany, Poland and Hungary, have said that they would increase their future contributions to Brussels to help make up for Britain’s departure.
Other countries, like the Netherlands, have said that they do not want to contribute more, but that the bloc’s budget should absorb the loss of Britain by shrinking and becoming more efficient.
But the commission itself is expected to propose a larger budget than the current one, and aim for an overall amount of 1.13 to 1.18 percent of the bloc’s gross national income, compared with 1.03 percent when the current framework was approved.
But the prevailing mood, led by the Commission vice president, Frans Timmermans, is that the challenge of Poland and Hungary cannot go unmet, and that other countries flirting with forms of “illiberal democracy,” like Slovakia and the Czech Republic, should see consequences.
In an unusually explicit Twitter thread after the Czech elections last autumn, Juho Romakkaniemi, the former head of the cabinet of another European Commission vice president, Jyrki Katainen, asked: “How long the other MS [member states] are willing to pay large sums for cohesion if it leads to divergence?”