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ECR

MEPs publish a blueprint for EU budgetary reform

4 March 2016

MEPs publish a blueprint for EU budgetary reform

The ECR Policy Group on Budgets has published a paper setting out reform proposals that would make the EU budget better able to meet the challenges of the future.

The ECR Policy Group on Budgets has published a paper setting out reform proposals that would make the EU budget better able to meet the challenges of the future.

Three MEPs from the policy group – Bernd Kölmel (DE), Anders Vistisen (DK), and Richard Sulík (SK) produced the guidelines that aim to deliver a better balanced budget, with money targeted on solving the EU’s challenges, rather than simply building on the status quo.

Their plan sets out how the EU budget can be better balanced in the future, avoiding the situation where commitments entered into are not matched by payments available to meet them. In particular it proposes a short term cash advance system should the EU temporarily exceed its limit, and measures to reduce the EU’s unpaid bills, which can sometimes mount up to tens of billions of Euros.

The paper looks at a more transparent budget, and particularly seeks to realign the long term budget with the cycle of the parliamentary elections, so that the long term budget setting responds to the electoral decision of European voters.

The paper seeks to end the annual haggling over the EU budget between the European Parliament and EU governments, with governments having more of a final say over the priorities that they wish to see the EU pursue. This would end the situation where the parliament significantly increases the annual budget, only for the council to return it to a similar level to the initial proposals – following an uncertain stand-off between the institutions.

The MEPs also recommend scrapping the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which can be financed at national level, and they oppose new EU taxes that would enable the EU to ‘act as an independent state.’

Most radical is a proposal to allow Member States to choose ‘options’ from the budget. In cases where EU spending does not clearly add value for a Member State, they should be able to decide to not apply the programme in their member state. Of course, many net contributors would still fund projects in other EU states – especially in net beneficiaries – but the Member State itself would not have to send money through an administration at the EU level, just to get it back.

The report also contains ideas on providing more start-up financing, reducing the costs and inefficiencies of EU agencies, and improvements to budgetary control process – including a dedicated Budgetary Control commissioner.

The Chairman of the ECR’s budgets policy group, Bernd Kölmel MEP, said:

“We cannot truly reform the whole EU until we reform how it sets its budget, and how it focuses on delivering added value from every cent it spends.

“These proposals set out a number of ideas that would create a leaner budget, with more of a focus on the challenges of tomorrow.

“We cannot go on producing unsustainable budgets where every year we are scrimping around the margins to find enough to pay the EU’s bills. There must be a more responsible way of budgeting, and in this paper we have set out some ideas to make it happen.

“We will submit this paper to the European Commission and will work towards delivering it both in the annual budgets, and when we carry out the mid-term review of the seven year framework.

“A better budget is not a bigger budget, but one that delivers far more value for less money.”

Read the paper here

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