Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

EU set to agree 2013 budget after Commission climb-down

  • Lewandowski - brokering a budget deal (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

EU politicians are expected to avoid becoming the first to fail to agree the bloc's annual budget since 1987 after brokering a last minute deal.

MEPs tentatively accepted a commission proposal that would increase the EU's spending in 2013 from €129 billion to €132.8 billion on Tuesday (4 December).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The deal was agreed by negotiating teams from the three EU institutions last Friday (30 November) with the details only revealed on Tuesday. Parliament's three main political groups: the centre-right European People's Party, the Socialists, and the Liberals, are all likely to back the deal.

Under the proposal, the commission's demand for an additional €9 billion to cover unpaid bills for 2012 has been reduced to €6.1 billion. The money is needed to fill a funding gap for flagship EU projects including the Erasmus scheme, which funds student exchange programmes, as well as the European social fund, which assists workers who have recently been made redundant.

The 2013 annual budget will rise by 2.9 percent to €132.8 billion, higher than the freeze demanded by national governments, but well below the €138 billion requested by MEPs and the commission.

However, senior parliament sources said that the extra €6.1 billion would only cover payments for the first ten months of 2012, meaning that unpaid bills from November and December would be carried over into next year.

MEPs on the influential budget committee will now take a formal vote on the proposals next Monday in Strasbourg before moving to a vote in plenary. The deal is also subject to approval by ministers but, unlike the seven year multi-annual financial framework, can be adopted with a qualified majority.

The Green group were the first to break ranks with Budget spokesperson Helga Trupel commenting that the deal would be "committing the EU to a continued cycle of under-budgeting and shortfalls for programmes already committed to". She accused the big political groups of a "volte face".

There is also likely to be internal disagreement in the Socialist group, with German deputy and Budget committee member, Jutta Haug, accusing Alain Lamassoure, the French centre-right MEP leading negotiations for the assembly, of having "sold us down the river."

Others believe that refusing the new proposal would inevitably lead to a higher budget since payments must automatically rise in line with inflation if an annual budget cannot be agreed.

Some in the parliament are also critical of Polish Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski. After negotiations collapsed three weeks ago, Lewandowski told reporters that the €9 billion figure was non-negotiable.

Meanwhile, Parliament President Martin Schultz issued a statement insisting that the commission and government ministers should sign a declaration guaranteeing that outstanding bills from 2012 would not be covered by being shifted to the 2013 budget.

"The necessary guarantees for this must be delivered at the highest levels of the institutions: there is no margin left for interpretation", he said, adding that the spending guarantee was a "precondition for a final positive vote in the parliament."

Opinion

EU budget: Don't cut the left arm to save the right

EU citizens will be the biggest losers of the power struggle on the Union's budget for 2014-2020, as any cuts will stifle growth and jobs, write MEPs Joseph Daul and Reimer Boege.

Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Italy would be committing economic "suicide" if it fell in line with EU rules, its deputy leader has said, in a sign that Rome has little intention of bowing to pressure ahead of Tuesday's budget deadline.

Greek austerity violated right to health, says watchdog

Cuts in the Greek health care system, following the austerity cuts demanded in return for international bailouts, have violated the European Social Charter on the right to health, says Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, Dunja Mijatovic.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs join other EU states in rejecting UN migration pact
  2. EU Commission to give verdict on Italy budget next week
  3. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  4. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  5. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  6. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls
  7. Italy defies EU deadline on changing budget
  8. Report: FBI looking into Brexiteers Farage and Banks

Stakeholder

An open China brings opportunities to Europe

Some 60 years ago, the first major World Fair after World War II was held in Brussels. Sixty years on, China International Import Expo (CIIE), the first world expo dedicated to expanding imports, will open in Shanghai, China.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot
  2. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  3. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  4. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  5. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  6. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  7. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  8. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us