Council Presidency: Floundering with the EU 2014 budget

 The European Parliament rapporteur on 2014 EU Budget, Anne E. Jensen (ALDE, DK) and Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR),  Chair of the BUDG Committee on Budgets of the European Parliament,  are holding a Press conference on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 for the next seven EU budgets (European Parliament’s Audiovisual Services).


The European Parliament rapporteur on 2014 EU Budget, Anne E. Jensen (ALDE, DK) and Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR), Chair of the BUDG Committee on Budgets of the European Parliament, are holding a Press conference on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 for the next seven EU budgets (European Parliament’s Audiovisual Services).

Yesterday the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council made another blunder and a very bad start in its relation with the European Parliament. After the Lithuanian Vice-Minister Algimantas Rimkūnas presented to the plenary of the Legislative the Council a proposal for the EU 2014 Budget, with which many MEPs strongly disagreed, the Lithuanian Presidency issued a clumsy Press release making no reference whatsoever to the opinions expressed by the MEPs. It also forgot to inform us all what kind of Vice-Minister Algimantas Rimkūnas is for? Probably economics?

Minister of what?

Seemingly Rimkūnas appearance in the Plenary of the European Parliament must have been even clumsier. That’s why the Plenary Session Press release on the EU Budget discussion issued afterwards not only omitted to mention who presented the Council proposal, but also made only one reference to the country that holds the rotating Presidency.

The Lithuanian government probably thinks that they can get away with their efforts to impose on the EU workings their obsessive ideas about how the Union should function. They will discover soon that Brussels has the means and the powers to ridicule their ideas and obliterate their egoism. This is the second time the Lithuanian government appears incapable or distortive.

Last weekend the Lithuanian Presidency actually falsified and distorted in its Press release the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers on Syria. The Council followed the French President’s proposal that the EU should wait for the results of the ongoing “UN investigation on the 21st of August attack and further investigations on other chemical weapons attacks”. The Lithuanian Presidency’s Press release made no reference to this almost unanimous decision of the EU Council of Ministers. Probably this is an indication of the Lithuanian government’s idea about credibility and respect of rules.

Slashing 2014 spending

Coming back to the EU 2014 Budget, the Council proposal provides for EUR 142.5 billion in commitments and EUR €136.1 billion in payments. Compared to the 2013 budget the resources committed for the entire EU for next year are reduced by €9.33bn or -6.15% while payments are slashed by of €9.5bn or -6.6%. There is however another thorny issue with the 2014 budget and this is the unpaid bills of 2012 and 2013. Who is going to pay for that?

Early this year, the Commission estimated it would run short of €11.2bn to pay its outstanding bills this year including also some unpaid bills of 2012. So far the member states that is the Council, have agreed to pay only €7.3bn. Legislators expressed their anger yesterday because they sensed that the Council wants to cover the gap of €3.9bn from the already slashed 2014 allocations.

According to the Parliament’s Press release “The Council’s proposed cutbacks in EU research and employment spending contradict its own promises, MEPs commented on the draft budget for 2014 as presented by the Council’s Lithuanian Presidency on Tuesday”. Other MEPs noted that the Council’s budget stance contradicts its promises for economic recovery.

Angry MEPs

The Parliament’s rapporteur on 2014 budget, Anne Jensen (ALDE, DK) observed that the “Council has chosen to do “business as usual” by cutting the Commission’s already very tight budget proposal. It is unacceptable that the Council should make the biggest cuts in growth policies such as research and innovation”. There was also general consensus that “Despite its recent promises to prioritise (youth) employment and growth-stimulating programmes for research, education and small and medium-sized enterprises, these are precisely the areas where the Council proposes the deepest cuts, totalling €426 million (-3%)”. At this point it must be mentioned that the 27 EU leaders decided in their last spring’s summit to set aside €6bn to support youth employment. It is exactly those items that the Council slashes now.

What next?

According to the rules the Parliament’s Budgets Committee will now formulate its position on the Council amendments on 2 and 3 October. This position will be put to a plenary vote on 23 October. If the Council does not accept Parliament’s changes, a 21-day conciliation period will follow. This timetable reaches well into November and it is highly possible that the Union will be still without a 2014 budget by then. At that time all eyes will fall on the responsible party which will obviously be the Lithuanian Presidency. It remains to be seen what the outcome would be.

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Comments

  1. Ces posts sont assurément fascinants

  2. Je vais finir de lire tout cela ce soir

  3. C’est bizarre je pensais faire un petit article
    identique à celui ci

  4. J’ai pas eu le temps de finir de regarder toutefois je repasse
    après

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