Tuesday

15th Oct 2019

MEPs agree 5 percent cuts in bid to break budget deadlock

  • Lewandowski: governments guilty of "artificial under budgeting" (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

MEPs have agreed to a 5 percent cut to EU spending in 2014, as the bloc scrambles to get its books in order in time for the next seven year budgetary cycle.

Deputies in the Strasbourg Parliament voted on Wednesday (23 October) to cut EU spending by more than €8 billion to €142.6 billion in 2014, down from €150.8 billion in 2013.

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

All budget headings, apart from administration, which covers the costs of the EU institutions, are set to be cut. However, EU cohesion funds, which includes structural funding to the bloc's poorest regions, face the deepest cuts of over €7 billion.

Under the proposal drafted by Danish centre-left MEP, Anne Jensen, spending on digital agenda policies and humanitarian aid would be slightly increased. Jensen also wants to increase funding for the Frontex agency, which deals with EU border control, in response to the recent tragedy off the coast of Lampedusa which left over 360 dead.

However, the parliament's plans, which would see a 5 percent cut in spending, are still €855 million higher than the level demanded by EU governments.

Speaking after the vote Alain Lamassoure, the French chairman of the Parliament's budgets committee, told reporters that the assembly was "not going into these negotiations on the back foot."

He noted that "virtually all" of the amendments endorsed by Parliament had the support of at least 3/4 of MEPs. Parliament's position was approved by 480 votes, with 119 against and 86 abstentions.

The 2014 budget forms part of what Lamassoure described as a complicated "jumbo" package which lawmakers need to agree in the coming weeks. But he insisted there was "absolutely no risk of a US-style shutdown" if agreement could not be reached.

On Thursday (24 October) MEPs will sign off on an emergency request for €2.7 billion of extra cash to plug a shortfall in revenue from customs duty, in a bid to solve a cash-flow problem that would leave the commission unable to pay its bills.

All invoices received by the EU executive by the end of October must have been paid for by the end of the year. But invoices received in November and December, which the commission estimates could be between €5-10 billion, could be rolled over into 2014.

Addressing MEPs on Tuesday (22 October), budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski thanked MEPs for helping the EU executive deal with what he described as the "accumulation of problems resulting from artificial under-budgeting."

But lawmakers are no closer to sealing a deal on the EU's next seven year spending cycle which starts in January 2014.

Lamassoure re-affirmed that deputies would only sign off on the 2014-2020 budget plan once governments have provided an additional €3.9 billion, promised back in June, to cover outstanding bills until the end of the year.

The parliament is also waiting for member states to cough up around €400m for German, Austrian and Czech citizens affected by recent floods.

"If we don't get more movement from Council we are quite prepared to defer the vote again until December," he said.

EU countries to halt arms sales to Turkey

EU states have agreed to stop arms sales to Turkey over its invasion of Syria, marking a nadir in relations with their Nato ally. In response, Ankara mocked the decision as a "joke".

Nine Catalan separatist leaders given long jail terms

Spain's Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition and misuse of public funds over their role in Catalonia's 2017 bid for independence. The possible legal immunity of some MEPs remains unanswered.

Investigation

EU proposes pesticide ban, but key documents still secret

Time is running out for chlorpyrifos, the pesticide which is a cause of brain damage to human fetuses and newly-born children. The EU Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have both stated approval should not be renewed.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Latest News

  1. EU countries to halt arms sales to Turkey
  2. Nine Catalan separatist leaders given long jail terms
  3. Poland's right-wing ruler wins four more years
  4. EU powerless in new Syrian mayhem
  5. Hungarian opposition wins Budapest in blow to Orban
  6. New Dutch terror bill must not target aid workers
  7. EU proposes pesticide ban, but key documents still secret
  8. Brexit nail-biter and EU nominations This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us