2013 EU budget
Battle between EP and Council to give foretaste of MFF dispute
By Gaspard Sebag | Thursday 12 July 2012
The battle between European Parliament ant Council over the 2013 EU budget should give a foretaste of the dispute over the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF). Talks will be tougher than in previous years, according to several sources. The top-up to the current budget that the Commission plans to ask in autumn will further complicate discussions.The Council has drawn blood first: the payments increase is limited to 2.79% (-€5.2 billion on the Commission’s 2013 draft budget) and commitments - dear to the Parliament - to a below-inflation rise (+1.47%)
. In October, when the plenary votes its position, MEPs are expected to prop up payments - in particular for Heading 1a (competitiveness) and 4 (foreign affairs) which member states cut back by €1.89 billion and €1.03 billion respectively compared to the EU executive’s proposal – and commitments.
An additional item that will be tied to the 2013 EU expenditure talks is the amending budget the Commission should present in the autumn to cover for a shortfall in payments estimated at €5-6 billion in the current budget.
Seeing as the 2013 EU budget will probably be an indicator of what the overall level of the next MFF could be, separating the negotiation from that over the parallel MFF talks will be a near impossible task.
The Commission proposes a 6.8% increase in payments up to €137.9 billion in the 2013 EU budget compared to this year (+€8.8 billion). A massive chunk of this rise is due to the €5.13 billion (+11.7%) boost in payments for Heading 1b (Cohesion). The draft budget limits the rise in commitments to 2% (€150.9 billion), a level close to the rate of inflation. n