EU executive draws up a new budget

GMT 22:34 2014 Friday ,28 November

Arab Today, arab today EU executive draws up a new budget

European Commissioner
Brussels - AFP

The EU executive said Friday it has drafted a new 2015 budget for the 28-country bloc after cost-conscious EU governments and European parliament failed to agree a deal earlier this month.
Negotiations for the EU's budget are often a heated affair, with member state governments under sharp pressure domestically to clip the wings of a Brussels bureaucracy viewed as too extravagant.
Making matters worse this year was an angry row over the recalculation of member state contributions to the EU budget that saw Britain on the hook to pay an extra 2.1 billion euros.
The European Commission's new draft budget calls for a lower 141.3 billion euros ($176.2 billion) in payments, up just 0.7 percent on last year, the commission said.
In its previous draft, the executive asked for an increase of 3.3 percent from the previous year.
The parliament however, eager to expand EU programmes especially in newer and less-developed member states, pushed for 146.4 billion euros, an 8.1 percent increase.
Member states and parliament will resume negotiations on the budget Tuesday after talks broke down on November 18.
"Our new budget proposal takes into account the views of the European Parliament and the Council (member states), thus providing a sound basis for the renewal of negotiations", said Kristalina Georgieva, the commission's vice-president for budget and human resources.
Also under discussion are payments to cover years of accumulated unpaid bills, which some estimates put at about 30 billion euros.
The commission said it proposed to cover some of these bills, prioritising research, education and support for small and medium-sized enterprises.
"This would come at no extra cost to national budgets, because of unexpected revenue, mostly from fines" imposed on companies which have violated EU anti-trust rules, the commission said.
But members states believe receipts from EU fines belong to national coffers, and will resist the Commission on the issue.
Without a deal, beginning January 1 the bloc will be restricted to spend one-twelfth of its current budget per month until an agreement is struck.

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