08.11.2011 0 Comments

EC votes for budget increase despite domestic cuts

EC votes for budget increase despite domestic cuts

In their final debate on the draft 2012 budget on 26th October, MEPs have insisted on an above-inflation increase in the EU’s budget, despite opposition from national governments.

This decision, if ratified by the Commission and the Council of Ministers in the next stage of negotiations, goes against the grain of the current funding cuts in the UK, and many other member states, and means the EU continues to be a viable source of funding for many UK organisations.

MEPs broadly followed a recommendation by the Budgets Committee to back the Commission’s proposal for a 4.9% increase in the EU’s 2012 budget compared with the 2011 budget. This means the EU budget is approximately €132bn and the proposed rise is above the rate of inflation.

The EP’s lead negotiator on the budget, Italian social democrat Francesca Balzani, said the EU needed to invest more in lifelong learning and research. She claimed that spending increases could help end the “crisis of trust” in the EU.

However Poland’s Deputy Finance Minister Jacek Dominik, representing the Council of Ministers accused MEPs of “getting stuck in a rut of more and more”. He said the increase proposed by the Commission and Parliament would send a negative to the public, especially with many Member States pursuing austerity budgets.

In voting, the Budget resolution was formally adopted by 431 votes to 120, with 124 abstentions.