Tuesday

18th Dec 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.

EU gives Switzerland another six months for a deal

The EU commission is giving more time to the Swiss government to endorse a deal that would put various sectorial agreements to access the single market under one deal. Nevertheless, after Brexit, the EU has had enough of exceptions.

Greens boycott EU-Morocco vote after lobbying expose

EUobserver has exposed Moroccan lobbying at the European Parliament, prompting a probe to be launched against several MEPs. The Greens have now decided to boycott next week's Morocco trade vote in protest, saying the lobbying investigation must be finished first.

News in Brief

  1. 3,500 UK troops on standby for no-deal Brexit
  2. Brexit: Opposition disagrees over no confidence vote
  3. EU court confirms suspension of Polish judges law
  4. France to tax Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon
  5. EU negotiators agree CO2 targets for cars
  6. May: Brexit vote will be week of 14 January
  7. Rome finds extra budget funds to fit EU demands
  8. Polish climate talks end in agreement on rulebook

Opinion

Fiscal discipline rules in eurozone are devastating

New rules are needed that do not place the heaviest burdens on a few countries, but ensure that all countries benefit from the euro. Avoiding imbalances in trade between countries can do this.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Muscat's one-man rule poses challenge for EU
  2. Orban protests target state media in new front
  3. Brexit and the Queen Sacrifice
  4. EU gives Switzerland another six months for a deal
  5. Fiscal discipline rules in eurozone are devastating
  6. EU capitals see weekend of tear gas and water cannon
  7. Bulgarian 'EU passports' whistleblower wants justice
  8. No more Brexit talks, despite May's pleas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us