The european Parliament has reminded member states they still face negotiations over the EU’s long-term budget before approval by MEPs.

european-parliament_350At the European Council last 8 February member states agreed spending plans for 2014-2020, but Parliament’s four largest political groups have indicated that the deal as it is may not receive the necessary parliamentary majority. They feel it does too little to stimulate growth and job creation and are concerned it could lead to a structural deficit. “The real negotiations will start now.” Member states decided to cut the long-term budget by 3.4% or €34 billion, partly by reducing planned funding for investment in infrastructure, broadband, research and digitalisation.

 A new budget

A budget that promotes growth and job creation is preferred by the leaders of Parliament’s four largest parties: EPP, S&D, ALDE and Greens/EFA. They are also concerned about the gap between commitments and the money available to pay for them. In a statement they said: “We see with astonishment that EU leaders agree to a budget that could lead to a structural deficit. Large gaps between payments and commitments will only store up trouble for the future and not solve existing problems.” They also call for the EU to have genuine own resources in order to reduce member states’ contributions.

The Summit agreement has to be approved by MEPs before it can enter into force. Parliament will enter into discussions with the Council before voting on the spending plans. Martin Schulz, EP president, commented: “There are some disappointing elements and encouraging elements. We will now check and analyse seriously the decisions and the proposals and then we will decide in the Parliament.”

Henry Borzi

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