Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Monday, 22 October 2012 17:52 UK

Budget 2013 debate

MEPs have rejected calls by EU governments to cut the proposed EU budget for 2013, during their key debate on 22 October 2012.

The Commission has said there should be a 6.85% rise in the EU's budget, but the Council of Ministers has said the rise should be limited to 2.79%.

Opening the debate, the parliament's lead negotiator on the budget, Italian centre-right MEP Giovanni La Via, said the EU's response to the economic crisis should be "more Europe, not less Europe".

He said the parliament should vote in favour of the Commission's original proposals, arguing that more money was needed to support growth and job creation.

The Commission claims that a large budgetary increase is needed because spending projects already agreed in previous years with member states now need to be paid for.

British Conservative Richard Ashworth said this meant the parliament should take a stronger role in scrutinising spending projects, to ensure that a similar situation is not repeated.

But he urged MEPs to support the council's position, saying the EU needed to show "restraint", to show solidarity with national governments who have been forced to cut domestic budgets.

German green MEP Helga Trüpel pointed out that cuts to the budget would mean that many EU programmes - such as the Erasmus student exchange scheme - could be put in jeopardy.

"Confidence in the whole European project has been lost," she warned.

However Ukip MEP Marta Andreasen said the "ridiculous" budget should be cut by "at least 10%", saying that "Europe would not fall apart if these projects are cut".

MEPs formally backed the Commission's proposals during the daily voting session on 23 October.

Three-way talks with the Council and Commission will now begin, to try to ensure that the budget is adopted in December, as required by EU rules.

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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