EU struggles to reach budget agreement

Flags outside the European Parliament next to a sculpture holding a euro sign Some countries support an enlarged EU budget

Senior EU officials are warning that it is proving harder than ever to reach an agreement on the European Union's next multi-annual budget.

Ministers are meeting on Monday for further talks and EU leaders will hold a special summit in November to try to strike a budget deal.

The European Commission has proposed an overall budget of 1,033bn euros ($1,337bn; £824bn) for 2014-2020.

But Britain and others say it should be about 100bn euros less than that.

Every six years or so, the EU has a big political fight about the size and structure of its next multi-annual budget.

At a time of economic crisis, that looming row is once again upon us.

The Commission points out that the budget it has proposed represents only about 1% of Europe's income, and many countries are supportive.

They want to protect spending programmes from which they benefit, such as the Common Agricultural Policy or Regional Funding for poorer areas of the European Union.

But a number of influential countries argue that increased spending is not tenable and they want a real freeze in the size of the budget.

Britain's Europe Minister David Liddington said he would be making it clear that the Commission has to "get into the habit of spending better, not always looking to spend more".

As for proposals to change the nature of the UK abatement or rebate - that, he said, "simply isn't going to happen".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    None of the E.U. commissioners can afford to mention the entire herd of elephants in the room. The bloated common agricultural policy, fisheries policy, the costs of moving the whole governing body twice a year between France and Belgium. Everywhere you look there are glaring examples of maladministration and appalling economic practice. Get your own house in order, and you won't need an increase.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Many countries have had budget deficits for a long time .
    They can no longer live on debts .
    So the spendings must be cut .
    Although my country will lose much money in this way I see no way out .
    Europe must save , must work harder .

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    This EU monstrosity trundles on like some gigantic cuckoo demanding more food, oblivious to the sufferings of its adoptive parents. The only countries who support budget increases for the EU are the net beneficiaries of its largesse, the handsomely remunerated MEPs and the equally overpriveleged and unaccountable Commission. I am not anti-european, simply deeply disappointed at what it has become.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    The European Commission could do us all a favour and reduce the amount of money required hugely by just dissolving itself. It is a monstrous bureaucratic unelected waste of space!

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    Pragmatic common-sense should guide the EU in making tough, balanced choices. All members should realize the stark situation the EU is in. The EU budget is far too big. Countries are spending excessively. A realistic budget managed by well-trained economists and business managers should lead. Politicians should play second fiddle.The best accounting brains, standards should take precedence!


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