With EU heads of state and government set to meet on Thursday and Friday for negotiations on the EU's multiannual financial framework for 2014-20, the EP today debated the issues with the Council and Commission. In the context of the debate, Greens/EFA budgetary spokesperson Helga Trüpel stated:
"The grandstanding on the EU's future budget in various national capitals is a total distraction from where the debate should actually be. The reality is that the EU budget should be a central instrument for tackling the economic crisis in Europe. In order to emerge from the crisis, we should be investing more in research, education, green technologies and the sustainable transformation of our energy sector. Not only does the EU budget represent a value-for-money way to deliver this across Europe, it is also the only real hope for crisis-hit countries like Greece, which are facing draconian budget cuts at home.
"Against this background, the squabbling over how to further cut what is a minimalist proposal from Commission lacks credibility. Council president Van Rompuy and the EU governments also need to remember that agreement on the EU budget implies unanimity in the Council plus one: the European Parliament's endorsement is also necessary and its position must be taken into account.
"The EU budget can and should play a central role in stimulating economic recovery in Europe and the sustainable transformation of our economy. The overwhelming share of the funds in the EU budget are channeled back to EU member states to programmes, which deliver a real impact on the ground. Yes, some of these programmes need reforming but haggling over how much to cut from an already small budget totally misses the point.
"It is high time to introduce a meaningful system of own resources for financing the EU budget. This would end the self-defeating horse-trading on the budget and allow for clearer budgetary planning for national governments and the EU. There is also a need to end the outdated rebate system. With a vanguard of EU member states set to forge ahead with a financial transaction tax, part of the revenues from this tax should be directed towards an EU own resources system, with ring-fenced funding for development and climate aid."