How will all this affect Ireland?
For many years Ireland received much more from the EU than it contributed, making it a net recipient of EU funds. This peaked in the early 1990s when the investment from EU structural funds was at its height. Today it is much more balanced. While different methodologies are used to calculate countries' contributions and receipts, we are still a net beneficiary and are likely to remain so for the duration of the next MFF. If Ireland's economic growth of the last decade had continued Ireland would probably have moved into a net contributor position.
Ireland is likely to do relatively well under the new MFF. Income from the Common Agricultural Policy still represents our largest receipt from Europe, representing around €1.6 billion annually. Thanks to pressure from countries such as France, the cuts to the agricultural budget are set to be less than anticipated, and there could be some uplift from negotiations on rural development funds.
Although worth much less than CAP funds, Ireland is also a net recipient in terms of funding for research and innovation, with Irish universities and researchers increasingly dependent on EU funding as pressure on national budgets persists.
Though the focus of structural funds has moved eastwards, Ireland received around €900 million of structural funds between 2007 and 2013. It is likely to receive a similar amount in the next seven-year period.
On a more practical level, if the MFF is agreed this week, it will fall to Ireland to progress the agreement and negotiate discussions with the European Parliament, because of its status as current president of the European Council.
What is the rebate?
Under a deal secured by Margaret Thatcher, Britain is entitled to be reimbursed two-thirds of the difference between its contribution to the EU budget (excluding traditional own resources) and the amount it receives back from the budget. The cost of the UK rebate is divided between member countries. Subsequently, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Austria negotiated their own rebate arrangements, including having their contribution to the UK rebate capped at 25 per cent.