Spend more or do less: EU leaders discuss post-Brexit budget

European leaders — minus Britain’s prime minister — are meeting to discuss how the bloc will cope with a multibillion-euro hole in its budget caused by Brexit.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, a former EU budget commissioner, said Friday the meeting will gauge the EU’s ambitions as it sets a new multiyear budget for the post-Brexit era.

She says leaders kicking off what are likely to be months of acrimonious wrangling have a choice, “to increase the budget and find new resources, European resources or taxes, or to reduce some other old programs.”

The EU’s executive Commission estimates that Britain’s planned departure next year will cut contributions by around 12 billion euros ($14.8 billion) a year. Britain has agreed to pay its budget share until 2020.

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