European Parliament will block the EU long-term budget negotiations until its demands are met
The Parliament won’t accept the proposed long-term budget for the EU until all payments for 2012 have been made and there are agreements on future funding and a comprehensive revision, EP president Martin Schulz declared today after MEPs voted a Resolution to reject the agreement reached by heads of government on 8th February. The resolution, prepared by the group leaders of the EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens and GUE/NGL, was adopted by 506 votes to 161, with 23 abstentions.
The long-term budget – also known as the multiannual framework or MFF, determines EU expenditure for the next seven years, broken down by policy area.
The Resolution highlights the growing problem of payment shortfalls, which prevent bills being paid and jeopardize EU programmes. According to the EP, last year’s shortfalls meant that several important EU programmes, such as Erasmus, the Research Framework Programme and the Social Fund ran out of funds early in the year.
The Parliament insists that the issue of unpaid bills from 2012 must be settled before concluding the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations, as agreed in last year’s budget talks. The Parliament also wants a political undertaking from the Council that all bills falling due in 2013 will be paid in 2013, so as to avoid “rolling over” a deficit into the new MFF. The EU cannot legally run a deficit.
The Resolution also calls for a mid-term review of MFF spending, so as to give the newly-elected Parliament and Commission an opportunity to influence the budgets that they will inherit from today’s legislators.
Furthermore, the Parliament makes the case for a system of genuine own resources to fund the EU budget and stresses that all EU expenditure should go through the budget.
The informal negotiations should result in a regulation laying down the MFF, for which the Parliament’s consent is required, as well as an inter-institutional agreement between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
The Parliament is negotiating the legal bases for the various EU programmes in parallel, but for these, the Parliament and the Council decide on the basis of co-decision. If there is no agreement by the start of 2014, the MFF ceilings from 2013, adjusted for inflation, will apply.
A press conference about next MFF and budget 2014 will be held this afternoon at 4 pm (CET).
It will be webcast live [ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20130313-1600-SPECIAL-UNKN ]here.