Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Tuesday, 11 December 2012

EU Budget 2013

The EU's Budgets Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski has welcomed a last-minute deal between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers on the EU's budget for 2013.

Following a breakdown in the original talks, MEPs have reached agreement with EU member states over the accompanying "amending budget", which releases €6bn of extra funding to make up shortfalls in the existing budget.

The shortfall stands at €9bn, and under the terms of the deal struck, a further amending budget to pay off the remaining €3bn will be brought forward in "early 2013".

Addressing MEPs on 11 December 2012, Mr Lewandowski said lessons would be learned to ensure that a similar shortfall does not occur next year.

But he said resorting to amending budgets was better than the "chaos" of provisional twelfths, whereby the existing budget is rolled over on a month by month basis when Council and Parliament fail to reach agreement.

The amending budget would mainly be used to reimburse countries for money they have paid into the solidarity fund, the rural development fund and the cohesion fund.

It would also be used to ensure continued funding for the Erasmus education programme and various research and development schemes.

Eight EU countries - including the UK, France and Germany - have argued the shortfall should be made up from money in the existing budget for 2012.

The budget for 2013 is set at €132.8bn, representing 0.99% of EU GNI, down from the 1.05% for 2012.

Mr Lewandowski admitted it was an "austerity budget", and that there was likely to be cuts in the number of EU jobs, despite the accession of Croatia and the increased number of policy areas that the EU has responsibility for.

The Conservative group's budget spokesman, Richard Ashworth, said there needed to be better controls of EU spending in the future, to ensure a similar shortfall did not occur again.

He said there needed to be "urgent" investment in jobs and growth but that this should not mean a bigger budget for EU taxpayers.

Although the Budgets Committee broadly voted in favour of the budget the budget spokesman for the Greens, German MEP Helga Trüpel, said her group would vote against the deal.

"This is a poor compromise", she said. "We warned there would be a shortfall - the European Parliament just rolled over."

The amending budget and the 2013 budget were formally adopted during the daily voting session on 12 December 2012.

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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