EU’s Budget: filling in the gaps

2013 was not an easy year, in general, even less in economic terms.
Amid the financial crisis of the past years Member States have taken the approach of cutting down their contribution to the EU Budget regardless of the fact they have previously approved and committed the funding for EU programmes.

This approach complicated things when, in March 2013, the Commission asked for an additional 11b EUR to pay for the outstanding bills for 2013. As expected the Council did not react positively to this request, and it was due to the Parliament’s conditionality in the MFF negotiations, that the Council finally approved, in July, a first tranche of the requested sum, to the amount of 7.1b EUR.

The fight for the remaining 3.9b EUR is still on-going and it is one of the reasons the agreement on the MFF 2014-2020 has yet to be concluded.

Yet we did have a small success on 24/10, with the approval of 2.7b EUR, additional EU funding for 2013 (amending budget N° 6).

These funds were requested by the Commission due to the fact that revenues from import duties collected at the EU’s external borders were far lower than the forecast by Eurostat and thus had to be replaced by a higher GNI contribution from EU countries.

The amending budget 6 was approved with 428 votes in favour, 44 against and 76 abstentions. The Parliament’s vote came three days after the Council approved the request through a fast-track procedure on Monday (21/10).

However, it is important to remember that the additional funds of 2.7b EUR do not replace the remaining tranche of 3.9b EUR (also known as DAB 8), or the 400m EUR needed to repair flood damage in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic and remedy the effects of drought in Romania (also known as DAB 9). The 2.7b EUR is the result of the lack of sufficient own resources during the year and the DAB 8 and 9 are calculated on the top, to cover accumulated payment claims.
Now it is up to the Council to approve these payments.

Regardless of the assurance of the Lithuanian Council Presidency that the Council will decide on these amounts at an extraordinary meeting on 30 October, the Parliament made it clear it cannot and will not agree to start budgetary 2014 with a deficit.

It is also worth mentioning that, legally, the EU’s budget prohibits deficits, meaning bills for the financial years must be settled in that same year. This is indeed something the Council must keep in mind in their upcoming summit of 30 October.

Greetings from the European Parliament,

Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg

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More info on the EU’s budget is available in the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/budget/index_en.cfm

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