2013 EU budget
Council cut requests contrary to summit conclusions, says Barroso
By Gaspard Sebag | Wednesday 25 July 2012
The cuts to growth-enhancing areas in the EU executive’s draft budget for 2013 made by the Council run contrary to the June EU summit’s conclusions, in particular with a commitment to growth and job creation through the signature of a compact, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told heads of state and government in a letter, sent on 24 July.
Barroso believes that the requested cuts “are already compromising the spirit of [the] recent agreement by not making sufficient funds available to enable the European Union to pay agreed levels of support for many growth-enhancing projects”. In his opinion, the cuts are “a false economy”.
For the net contributing member states, limiting the overall increase in payments of the EU budget next year was the top priority. To achieve this result, they had to take the axe on the Commission’s draft to cohesion (-€1.6 billion) and foreign affairs (-€1 billion) as well as research (-€1.2 billion), an area from which they benefit most. In total, €5.2 billion were shaved off, limiting the increase on 2012 to 2.79%, well below the 6.85% boost requested by the EU executive but above inflation (1.9%) and totalling to €132.7 billion.
The EU executive chief also recalls that the payment increase requested by his institution stems largely from previous commitments, which have to be honoured, and that the rise would have been less substantial had the budgetary authority - EP and Council - not slashed the 2012 draft budget last year.
COMMON GROUND WITH EP
Similar criticism was issued by the European Parliament, which is due to vote its own position in October before entering into negotiations with Council in view of reaching a deal the following month.