Page last updated at 21:06 GMT, Wednesday, 15 February 2012

MEPs urge 2013 budget freeze

MEPs have been urged to accept a freeze in the European Parliament's budget for 2013.

The debate on 15 February 2012 was an opportunity to set out initial budgetary guidelines ahead of the annual budgetary process, which must be finalised by December.

The European Parliament's lead negotiator on the 2013 budget for all areas outside the remit of the European Commission is British Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, who has called for EU institutions to freeze their administrative budgets.

He admitted that some MEPs wanted an overall cut, whilst some wanted an increase, and said he hoped that his report was "a good compromise and the way forward".

Mr Vaughan said that there should be be improved co-operation between the various institutions to enable savings to be made through the sharing of back office services.

There are calls in the report for an independent evaluation of the European Parliament's internal budget to look at future savings.

Austrian independent MEP Angelica Werthmann warned against any unintended consequences of cuts, highlighting that cuts to the interpretation service may hinder some MEPs.

There is also a warning that the forthcoming accession of Croatia to the EU could impact on internal and administrative costs.

A number of MEPs including Finnish liberal Carl Haglund and British Conservative Richard Ashworth urged an end to the practice of the parliament having two seats - Brussels and Strasbourg.

Mr Ashworth said it was "indefensible" for MEPs to talk about budgetary cuts "whilst we continue with such as wasteful practice ourselves".

However UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen went further.

"The EU is bloated and needs to go on a hard diet," she concluded.

The report will be voted on during the daily voting session from 11am on 16 February.

Due to technical reasons beyond our control we our unable to bring you the video from this debate.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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