Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Tuesday, 11 September 2012 14:42 UK

EU governments criticised over budget cuts proposals

The EU's Budget Commissioner, Janusz Lewandowski, has said he is "disappointed" at attempts by national governments to cut the draft EU budget for 2013.

The Commission has proposed a 6.85% rise in the EU's budget for 2013 - but presenting the Council's position on 11 September 2012, Cyprus's deputy Europe minister, Andreas Mavroyiannis, stated the rise should be limited to 2.79%.

Cyprus currently holds the six month rotating presidency of the Council of Ministers, which represents EU member states.

Mr Lewandowski said the Commission had "no choice" but to set a large budgetary increase, saying that spending projects already agreed in previous years with member states now needed to be paid for.

He highlighted that the Council had proposed cuts in budgetary areas set aside for "competitiveness, growth and investment".

He was supported by the European Parliament's lead negotiator on the budget, Italian MEP Giovanni La Via, who said the Council's proposals would increase austerity and limit growth.

However Mr Mavroyiannis said that many member states could not accept a large budgetary increase, during such economically "difficult circumstances".

He added that he hoped that negotiations with the other institutions would be "constructive and in a spirit of compromise".

MEPs will formalise their position in October, before entering into three-way talks with the Council and Commission.

Under EU rules, the budget must be adopted by December.

Failure to adopt will mean that the existing year's budget will carry into next year on a month-by-month basis.

In 2012 the EU budget was €129.1bn, a 1.9% increase on 2011.

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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