The European Parliament today voted to adopt an agreement on the EU's 2012 budget. The Greens criticised the deal, which represents a scale back of the original proposals by the European Commission (1), in spite of the growing tasks faced by the EU. The group is also concerned about the proposed spending in key areas, notably the disproportionate amount of funding for nuclear energy, vis-a-vis safe and sustainable energy technologies. After the vote, Green budgetary spokesperson Helga Trüpel said:
“Today's budget vote rubberstamps a scaling-back of ambition for the EU and the prospects for a European response to the crisis. The EU budget is a key instrument for European investment and should be a key instrument for stimulating European economic recovery in response to the crisis but this deal will reduce its ability to do so.
“The proposed spending in key areas will also fail to ensure the sustainable transformation of the European economy. Instead of prioritising investment in green technologies, the budget allocates a disproportionate amount of funding to nuclear energy vis-a-vis safe and sustainable energy technologies, like renewables and energy efficiency.
“All of this ignores the ticking budgetary time bomb that is the ITER nuclear fusion project. Despite the blind focus on cutbacks across the budget, the Council is still insisting that the ballooning costs for ITER are met under the EU budget. Instead, with nuclear fusion a technology that will not be commercially-viable before 2050, if ever, the Council should finally give up on pouring public funds into this hugely expensive white elephant.”
(1) The budget will be increased by around 1.9% compared with 2011, far lower than the amount proposed by the European Commission or the position outlined by the European Parliament last month, when MEPs voted for a 5.2% increase to reflect the growing competences of the EU.