Page last updated at 08:43 GMT, Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:43 UK

Multi-annual financial framework

The head of the European Parliament's Budgets Committee, Alain Lamassoure, has said that the EU's budget should not be frozen "like a historic monument", during a debate on the EU's multi-annual financial framework (MFF).

The MFF is the seven-year budgetary framework, which sets out the EU's overall spending limits, with the next MFF due to begin at the start of 2014.

Speaking during the parliament's debate on the MFF on 23 October 2012, Mr Lamassoure said it was wrong to freeze contributions to the EU at around 1% of GDP.

He said it was time for a "political agreement" on EU funding, with greater use of own-resources, where the EU is funded directly rather than through national contributions.

These could be measures such as EU VAT or a financial transaction tax.

The Commission has proposed a €1.025tn budget for the next MFF - a position described as "credible" by the Commission's vice-president Maros Sefcovic - although the Council has said the figure should be "revised downwards".

MEPs urged the Council to "come clean" over which EU policies should be scrapped to make up any shortfall.

If no agreement is reached by the end of next year, the 2013 budget will be rolled into 2014 with a 2% rise to account for inflation.

The Parliament's Budgets Committee wants spending on agriculture and regional policy to be "at least maintained" and calls on increased spending on competitiveness and research.

This debate sets out the European Parliament's formal position ahead of an extraordinary summit of EU leaders in November, where a final decision on the MFF is due to be reached. This allows for a year to pass the various pieces of legislation needed to implement the MFF.

The committee's report on the MFF was adopted by 517 votes to 105 during the daily voting session later in the day.

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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