The European Parliament's budget committee voted today on its position for the 2013 EU budget. The Greens welcomed the vote, which counters the position by EU governments in Council to arbitrarily cut the draft budget proposed by the European Commission. Commenting after the vote, Green budgetary spokesperson Helga Trüpel stated:
"The European Parliament has today made clear it will not accept the short-sighted and arbitrary slashing of the 2013 EU budget, which is being pushed by EU governments in Council. Resisting the blunt cuts proposed by the Council is essential to ensure the EU budget can be used to stimulate economic recovery and that the laudable commitment by EU governments to a 'growth pact' is not stillborn. The EU budget is the right instrument to deliver this but this implies allocating an appropriate level of resources to R&D, structural funds and other economy-stimulating measures. Thankfully, MEPs recognise this.
"The Commission's proposal to increase payments foreseen under the EU budget is necessary to ensure the large amount of open bills from previous years are met. This is not about irresponsible spending by 'Brussels', it is about meeting commitments made to programmes underway in EU member states. Council prefers to ignore this and keep the level of payments under the EU budget artificially low while knowing very well that the Commission is currently unable to honour its financial obligations to beneficiaries. At the same time, authorities in the same EU member states are submitting requests for structural fund reimbursements to the Commission which would require a far higher budget.
"A perpetual shadow over the EU budget is the annual waste of vast sums of EU taxpayers' money on the ITER nuclear fusion pipe dream. The Greens also regret the failure to agree to end export subsidies and subsidies for tobacco production. Instead of this waste, we should be investing more in research, education, green technologies, the sustainable transformation of our energy sector and development. Unfortunately, there was no majority for this."