Thursday

13th Aug 2020

Brussels delays budget reform talks

An open public debate on the EU budget's reform, launched last September, has been given two additional months, fuelling speculations that Brussels is trying to avoid a negative impact on the Lisbon Treaty's ratification in Ireland.

"The public consultations were planned to end on 15 April. This has been extended until 15 June," European Commission spokesperson Christina Arigho told journalists, citing "a lot of inputs coming in" as a reason for the delay.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The budget review is to take a fresh look at the best way of shaping the EU's future spending (Photo: European Commission)

The commission's budget review 2008-2009 is to take a fresh look at the best way of shaping the EU's future spending. It is also intertwined with a controversial "health check" on the common agriculture policy.

Some diplomats suggest that the new time frame comes as a result of the EU tiptoeing around Ireland, as the country plans to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty on 12 June.

A controversial debate, pointing to the possible cuts in farm subsidies, could upset the country's influential farmer base.

Irish farmers are already reluctant to throw their weight behind the EU treaty as a result of the current global trade talks, which they fear could result in a less beneficial set-up for them. The European Commission is conducting the talks for the EU as a whole in this area.

"Some budgetary reforms may be difficult for some countries. Perhaps, it is better not to debate them in the open before the treaty is ratified," an EU diplomat was cited as saying by Reuters news agency.

But the commission spokesperson refused to link the two-month delay in the public consultations on EU budget to the Irish referendum.

"These reforms were presented well before we knew the timeframe for the treaty ratification," she said, adding that there is "no rush" since the specific proposal by EU budget commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite is only expected to come out at the end of 2008 or early 2009.

Backstage, the debate has already been very lively.

Germany, the biggest contributor to the union's coffers, has already indicated that farm funds should be strongly reduced in future - something likely to ruffle feathers in France, the key beneficiary of agricultural support.

In the UK, the biggest controversy is likely to be centred around the country's rebate, which was negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in 1984 and which prevents the UK from making excessive net payments to the EU budget.

Top EU officials urge MEPs give quick budget-deal approval

MEPs criticised the EU deal on the budget and recovery package clinched by leaders after five days of gruelling talks, saying it is not enough "future-oriented", and cuts too deeply into EU policies, including health, innovation, defence and humanitarian aid

EU Parliament gears up for fight on budget deal

European parliament president David Sassoli said certain corrections will have to be made in the budget, citing research and the Erasmus program for students, calling the cuts "unjustified".

EU leaders agree corona recovery after epic summit

After gruelling five-day talks, EU leaders agreed on €390bn in grants and €360bn in low-interest loans to hardest-hit member states - after much opposition from the Dutch-led 'frugal' bloc of countries.

EU summit enters fourth day with recovery deadlocked

After bilateral negotiations continued all Sunday night, mostly to try to convince the 'Frugal Four' to move their red lines, European Council president Charles Michel is expected to table a new proposal on Monday afternoon with €390bn in grants.

EU leaders face off over corona bailout summit

EU leaders will face difficult and fundamental issues on Friday-Saturday (17-18 July), when they attempt to agree on the planned seven-year €1.07 trillion budget and €750bn recovery package.

EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row

The economies of France, Italy and Spain will contract more then 10-percent this year, according to the latest forecast by the EU executive, as it urges member state governments to strike a deal on the budget and recovery package.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us