Wednesday

24th May 2017

Parliament ready to strike deal on EU budget

  • A deal in sight on the EU budget? (Photo: Images_of_Money)

MEPs are ready to accept the 3 percent EU budget cut agreed by governments in return for more flexibility, according to documents seen by EUobserver.

A draft resolution setting out the European Parliament's negotiating stance makes no mention of the figures agreed by EU leaders. Instead, MEPs would condition their support on governments agreeing to a "compulsory and comprehensive revision, a maximum overall flexibility, an agreement on own resources and the unity of the EU budget."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

EU leaders agreed a deal worth €960 billion in commitments and a payments ceiling of €908 billion at February's EU summit. The deal, which covers seven EU budgets between 2014 and 2020, represents a 3 percent real terms cut to the bloc's spending.

Parliament seemed set for a showdown with governments after the leaders of the assembly's four main political groups denounced the agreement at a hearing in February with European Council President Herman van Rompuy and European Commission chief Jose Barroso.

Joseph Daul, the French leader of the centre-right EPP, led the charge, describing the deal as a "carpet seller's" budget.

But with member states adamant that EU spending must be restrained at a time of national budget cuts, attitudes are softening.

The resolution already has the support of the parliament's three largest political groups and is expected to obtain a large majority from MEPs on Wednesday (13 March).

"Trialogue" negotiations between MEPs and ministers are then expected to start within weeks.

A senior parliament source told EUobserver that "the dates of the trialogues have been pencilled in," with a view to completing an agreement in June before the end of the Irish presidency.

Parliament wants a review clause to do a full evaluation of the budget following next year's European elections. It also wants agreement to be reached on the future of the EU's "own resources," which includes revenue from VAT and, in the future, from a financial transactions tax.

Meanwhile, a flexibility mechanism would allow funds to be transferred between years and the different budget headings.

The assembly is also expected to demand detailed figures from the European Council on the allocation of funds.

It states that MEPs "must have all relevant information at the disposal of the commission on the level of agreed national allocations under cohesion and agricultural policies, including the derogations and specific allocations to each Member State."

Parliament is also insistent on resolving a funding gap that has left multi-billion euro shortfalls in recent EU budgets.

It wants the European Commission to swiftly table an emergency budgets to cover a shortfall carried over from the 2012 budget estimated to be between €2.5 and €3 billion. A package worth up to €16 billion is also expected to be tabled to fulfill EU spending commitments for 2013.

A parliament official commented that "unless there is movement on all of these priorities, the parliament will reject," adding that "the current proposal on the table is unacceptable".

In response, a Council official told this website that resolving the 2013 budget was a "big hurdle to overcome" and that governments would be unwilling to dip into their pockets to fund a shortfall.

However, he added that there was "room for manoeuvre" on the parliament's other demands.

"There should be the scope for a deal," he said.

Schulz issues ultimatum on EU budget

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz said Thursday that MEPs will only open negotiations on the next long-term budget once member states agree how to fill the around €17 billion gap in this year's budget.

MEPs attack 'carpet seller' budget deal

The EU parliament's biggest faction, the centre-right EPP, has denounced the proposed €960 billion EU budget in a clear sign MEPs may reject the deal struck by leaders.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms