The Commission proposal to settle only part of the EU’s €16.2 billion debt rolled over from 2012 threatens the EU with insolvency later in 2013, said Budgets Committee chair Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR) on Wednesday. The Commission, Parliament and Council agreed last year to settle all bills left over from 2012.
“It is thus confirmed: there is a threat that the EU will run out of funds before the end of 2013. This is forbidden by the treaties and the Parliament will not accept a deficit”, said Mr Lamassoure after EU Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski’s announcement of an amending budget worth €11.2 billion. Because the amending budget is insufficient to pay the bills, the €5 billion shortfall will have to be paid from the 2013 budget, which was not calculated to cover rolled-over bills.
“In these times when the EU’s credibility is questioned, to pretend to be deciding on a seven-year budget when we are not even able to pay the current year’s bills will not enhance our trustworthiness”, Mr Lamassoure added.
The Budgets Committee will hear Mr Lewandowski’s presentation of the amending budget on 15 April.
Mr Lamassoure recalled that the three institutions undertook in a joint declaration at the end of the 2013 budget negotiations to finish 2013 with a “clean sheet”, by settling all unpaid bills incurred by member states for goods, works and services. 2013 is the final year of the EU’s current multi-annual financial framework (MFF).
In a resolution voted on 13 March, Parliament rejected the EU member states’ 7-8 February decision on the EU’s next MFF. MEPs insisted that the EU’s debts must be settled before negotiations on the long-term budget could be concluded.
Parliament will vote on the proposed amending budget after the Council has stated its position, so the ball is now in the Council’s court.