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Budget Tug-o-War Re-starts At Brussels

  • February 8th, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

council-building6.jpgA tug-o-war is under way at the new year’s first European Union summit, in Brussels, over how many Euros to allocate in the forthcoming seven-year budget of the EU.

The heads of government, as the European Council, said they had made a positive “first step” when they debated the budget last November.

As reported then, (see EUAustralia Online, “EU Summit: Step one for spending €1-trillion”, 24.11.13); they had started with proposed spending of €1.091-trillion (A$1.35321-trillion; xe.com, 24.11.12) for 2014-20, up from the current €1.034-trillion (A$1.2851-trillion) for 2007-13.

Under pressure, and with intervention from the Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, it was scaled down to €1.010 (A$1.24034-trillion).

As the leaders, left, there was counter-pressure to push that back up, and at the meeting this week, 7-8.2.13, there is renewed insistence on more reductions.

The talks have separated more prosperous Northern members of the European Union, like Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden (wanting a static or reduced budget), and others including Italy in the South, or Poland in the East, (supporting expansion).

Conservative governments, as in Britain and Germany, have been cutting spending at home and argue that the same should happen for the EU as a whole; and they say that the last budget was formulated before the Global Financial crisis, when credit conditions were easier.

The other “side” in the debate, including France, have supplemented their argument for EU development programs, and maintenance of services, by stressing the stimulus effect of a larger budget, to enable growth, and help beat back recession.

The European Council said the agenda this week, “will aim to reach an agreement on the EU’s 2014-2020 budget, the so-called multi-annual financial framework (MFF). It is also expected to hold discussions on the EU’s relations with the rest of the world, in particular the ongoing situation in Mali, how the EU can assist the ‘Arab Spring’ countries with their transition to democracy, and how to improve the EU’s trade relations with its strategic partners, such as the United States.”

Reference

Euronews, Lyon, “Time for tough talk as EU summit to hash out budget deal begins”, 7.2.13. http://www.euronews.com/2013/02/07/time-for-tough-talk-as-eu-summit-to-hash-out-budget-deal-begins/, (8.2.13).

European Council, Brussels, “European Council 7.2.2013 – 8.2.2013”.
http://www.european-council.europa.eu/council-meetings.aspx, (8.2.13).

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