Budget freeze not an option, claim MEPs



The EU will not be able to achieve its policy objectives if its budget is frozen after 2013, MEPs said yesterday. They called for an increase of at least 5 per cent in the seven-year budget, a move certain to cause consternation in member states which have called for restraint.

Setting out its political stall ahead of tough negotiations in the summer, the European Parliament's policy challenges committee called for the EU to be able to raise its own funds rather than relying solely on contributions from member states. There need not be any overall increase in the tax burden on citizens if the proposals were to be implemented, MEPs said.

(...) Some MEPs argued that the proposals were not sufficiently ambitious and even a 5 per cent increase would lead to cuts. Jürgen Klute, a member of the left-wing GUE/NGL group said: "Demand is steadily increasing for additional money for areas such as EU enlargement since 2004, the recently established European External Action Service since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, and the new EU regulatory authorities for the financial market. As the EU cannot get into debt but must present a balanced budget, this will inevitably lead to cuts. Notably important social programmes might be concerned, especially if they are not directly linked to increasing competitiveness." You can read the full article here!