Commission redrafts EU 2013 Budget
The European Commission yesterday submitted a new proposal for the EU’s 2013 budget, just days after the bloc’s leaders failed to agree a separate long-term spending plan for 2014-2020.
The revised 2013 budget blueprint is virtually unchanged from the Commission’s original proposal, which earlier this month failed to win the joint backing of EU governments and lawmakers needed for approval.
European Parliament negotiators boycotted talks with EU governments to finalise the €137 billion budget for next year, after member states refused to first approve a last-minute request for more funds in 2012.
Many northern European countries that contribute most to the bloc’s budget have been angered by demands for above-inflation increases in future EU spending, which they say fly in the face of budget cuts and austerity policies being implemented at home.
Failure to agree on the 2013 Budget created uncertainty in future EU finances, amplified last Friday when leaders were unable to reach a compromise on a budget framework for 2014-2020, delaying a decision until next year. A revised 2013 Budget plan must now be agreed by the end of this year to avoid triggering an arrangement where the total for 2012 is rolled over and paid out in 12 monthly instalments, which would cause chaos in several areas of EU spending.
But governments are likely to remain opposed to the proposed €137.8 billion limit on EU payments for next year, which is only €126 million less than the Commission’s original plan and represents an increase of almost seven per cent from 2012.
Negotiators from the European Parliament support the 2013 blueprint and its request for an extra €9 billion in funding, which it says is needed to meet funding commitments for EU public works and education programmes.