The European Parliament today voted to approve an agreement on the EU's budget for 2015. The Greens/EFA group has criticised the deal, which will leave the EU again facing shortfalls next year, with Green budgetary spokesperson Indrek Tarand saying:
"By failing to truly solve the problem of the EU's perpetual under-budgeting, we are being doomed to a future of chaotic budgeting and shortfalls. Yet again, the EU is being committed to a budget deficit, with spending commitments that will not be met by the actual payments signed up to. This is bad for the credibility of the EU, both towards its stakeholders but also vis-a-vis the markets. Short-sighted EU governments, who doggedly insisted on reducing budget payments, are clearly to blame but the bigger political groups in the European Parliament are also culpable for caving in to this pressure.
"This deal will hit the beneficiaries of EU programmes in key areas like research, education and regional funds, who are continually being left with unpaid invoices. Limiting EU spending on research and innovation is also totally wrongheaded at a time when we should be looking to stimulate economic recovery. There are currently around 70 R&D projects being held back by the inability of the EU to pay funding it has committed. The EU Commission has also made clear the serious funding shortfalls faced by the acclaimed Erasmus education exchange programme. This makes a mockery of promises by EU governments to make future-oriented investment a priority."
Green budget expert Helga Trüpel added:
"We also regret the failure to suspend funds for the so-called 'high-level expert groups', which advise the Commission. The Greens have long criticised the imbalanced composition of these groups, which are made-up predominantly of industry lobbyists, yet have direct influence on EU policy in the pre-legislative stage. Parliament had originally supported suspending these funds for this reason but we regret that the EP negotiators totally failed to defend this in the negotiations with EU governments."