28 October 2015
The European Parliament’s vote for a net increase in the 2016 EU budget today is unlikely to be the end of the story, but it does underline the need for MEPs to focus on a reprioritised budget, not just a bigger budget, according to European Conservatives and Reformists’ (ECR) budget spokesman Bernd Kölmel.
The parliament has voted for around €4 billion extra in payments and commitments compared to the Member States’ own estimates for 2016. This goes against the Multi-Annual Financial Framework which Parliament agreed to in 2013. However, the vote opens talks with EU governments that are likely to reduce that figure before the final budget is agreed.
The ECR Group voted against the increase and has also proposed an alternative motion that sets out a series of ideas for a better focused budget for the EU, which meets the urgent priorities facing Europe without constantly adding to the financial burden on Member States.
ECR Budgets spokesman and German ALFA MEP Bernd Kölmel said:
“The EU does need to put more resources into some priorities such as the migrant crisis, but we can find that money from making savings elsewhere. We are years into a period of budgetary restraint across Europe yet the message still has not reached many MEPs who think that only a bigger budget ensures effective EU action. We need a more focused budget that only spends where we can guarantee we add value.
“The European Commission’s initial proposal for the 2016 budget was a massive improvement on previous years, matching more budgetary restraint with a reprioritisation of funds to tackle challenges of the future. However, that message has yet to get through to many MEPs.”
ECR deputy spokesman on budgets, UK Conservative MEP Richard Ashworth added:
“With limited resources the EU budget needs to be more disciplined to focus on those areas where it can really add value. We do have major priorities that we should respond to such as the migration crisis or the difficult period in agriculture, but we need better reprioritisation to deliver them.
“This is not the right time for the European Parliament to go back to governments and ask for more money. Instead, we need to take some tough decisions about our priorities.”
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