2013 EU budget
Cracks appear in Council
By Gaspard Sebag | Friday 13 July 2012
Eight net payers have issued a warning to other member states and the European Parliament that the increase in the 2013 EU budget consented by the Council (+2.79% in payments compared to this year) is a maximum, not a starting point for negotiations. This has got some MEPs, who consider that the declaration by the eight goes against a draft Council statement on payments, up in arms. On the other side of the spectrum in Council, Poland should issue a declaration saying the 2.79% rise is a minimum. Other member states, such as Hungary, are expected to rally.
Cracks in the Council’s position have already begun to appear. Germany, France, Finland, Denmark, Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden consider that in the context of budgetary consolidation at member state level “an increase of 2.79% is higher than [they] would have liked”. “Therefore, further increases to EU spending should not be agreed this year,” reads a declaration by the eight. An outraged Poland, which is trying to find allies amongst the Friends of Cohesion, should hit back with a statement saying exactly the opposite during the formal approval, at the 24 July General Affairs Council. Each side wants to show that it has a strong position, explains one participant, adding that such unilateral declarations are not binding on the Council.
In case cohesion (Subheading 1b) requires additional cash, the Council suggests, in a draft statement on payments, calibrating the level of resources by using potential under-implemented agricultural expenditure (Heading 2) via an amending letter to the 2013 EU budget. If the adjustment in cohesion is equal to that in agriculture this would be in line with the declaration of the eight.