Friday

6th Aug 2021

Parliament backs €9 billion EU budget hike

  • MEPs on the Budget committee backed a €138bn deal. (Photo: KBRI Brussel)

MEPs defied calls by national governments to rein in EU budget spending on Thursday (4 October), instead restoring most of the €138 billion settlement proposed by the European Commission for the 2013 budget.

The European Commission’s budget proposal had called for a €9 billion increase on the 2012 budget, equivalent to an additional 6.8 percent.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

Goran Farm, the Swedish deputy who leads for the Socialist group on the Budget committee, described the parliament’s position as “very modest, with a clear focus on jobs and growth.”

Member states had agreed to a 2.8 percent increase but the EU’s seven net-contributing countries, which include Germany, France and the UK, insist that they will not cede more ground at a time when governments are imposing national austerity plans. Critics of the council position say that governments are trying to block funding to pay for projects they have already agreed to.

Helga Truepel, the Green group’s spokesperson, said the commission’s increase was to cover payments already agreed by governments. “Council prefers to keep the level of payments under the EU budget artificially low while knowing very well that the commission is currently unable to honour its financial obligations,” she said.

For his part, Richard Ashworth, spokesman for the British conservative dominated ECR group, accused the committee of adopting an “Oliver Twist mentality” and backing “an inflation-busting increase that those who pay the EU’s bills are unable and unwilling to pay.”

Under the Lisbon Treaty, parliament enjoys equal power with governments on the adoption of the EU budget which must be no higher than 1.23 percent of GDP.

The vote by the budget committee comes after the commission revealed that it would table a supplementary budget to plug an estimated €10 billion hole to ensure that payments under programmes such as the European Social Fund and Erasmus scheme could continue to be made.

While negotiations on the next seven year budget framework starting in 2014 remains deadlocked, a number of EU funding programmes are on the brink of insolvency.

Socialist group leader Hannes Swoboda accused governments of “blackmailing successful programmes” with the immediate future of the EU’s Erasmus student exchange programme affected by the budget gridlock.

Although the Commission has sought to play down the prospect of students not receiving their grants, the European Students’ Union (ESU) said that failure to reach a budget settlement could leave students in the 2012-13 semester empty-handed.

ESU chair Karina Ufert urged the EU executive to “solve the current financial shortcomings of the European Social Fund by using money from underspent EU funds.” Over 2 million students have used the Erasmus programme in its 25 year existence.

The Cypriot Presidency is hoping to cajole ministers into a compromise deal over the coming weeks. They will then attempt to bridge the gaps with the parliament and commission position.

Barroso fights to keep investment pot in EU budget

The European Commision has started banging the drum for a new €50bn pot of money that it says will reinvigorate Europe's economy. But the aid is unlikely to make it through budget negotiations unscathed.

Italy seeks EU help on migrant boat arrivals

Italy's interior minister Luciana Lamorgese has requested the EU convene an home affairs ministerial to discuss migrant and refugee arrivals - as NGOs seek to disembark over 800 rescued people.

Romania selling on its jabs, despite low vaccination rates

Europe's least-vaccinated countries are in no short supply of Covid-19 jabs - and yet Romania and Bulgaria are both looking for opportunities to sell or donate their excess vaccines which they are not able to administer to their own population.

News in Brief

  1. EU secures deal with Novavax for potential Covid-19 vaccine
  2. France fined €10m for failing to tackle air pollution
  3. Fire near Athens forces thousands to evacuate
  4. EU to Lebanon: 'deliver results' on Beirut blast probe
  5. Belarus opposition leader demands regime end
  6. Croatia's border-monitoring of migrant rights 'falls short'
  7. Court stops Austria's Afghan deportation, as conflict worsens
  8. 'Missing' Belarus exiles group chief found dead in Kyiv

Column

Burkinis and 'soul caps' - policing Olympic women back in fashion

There are no fixed rules. Anyone can criticise, condone and codify women's apparel. The game is inclusive, bringing together an assorted collection of voyeurs, misogynists, racists, bigots, religious fanatics and culture warriors – but also feminists and other equality campaigners.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Italy seeks EU help on migrant boat arrivals
  2. WHO calls for vaccine-booster pause to help poor countries
  3. Romania selling on its jabs, despite low vaccination rates
  4. Cyprus' Varosha is Erdogan's canary in the coalmine
  5. Europe sees drop in Covid-19 cases
  6. Burkinis and 'soul caps' - policing Olympic women back in fashion
  7. Telegram groups lure migrant hopefuls to Lithuania
  8. Third-time lucky for one Syrian grandmother in Denmark

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us