Regulars readers of my blog will know that the European Commission, supported by Parliament President Martin Schulz (who incidentally it is rumoured is angling for Barroso’s job after 2014), have been pushing for an 11.2 Billion Euro top up to the 2013 EU Budget.
On Tuesday evening European Finance Ministers meeting (ECOFIN) in Brussels agreed the first € 7.3 bn tranche of a top up to the 2013 EU payments budget.
The move – rejected by the UK, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Denmark but supported by Germany- which opposed it when it was originally mooted - means that when the second tranche is in due course released the increase over the 2012 budget will be 8.4%. The Chairman of the Budgets Committee suggested this morning that the remaining money would be given as a compromise for signing off on the longer term budget, the MFF. This wasnt mentioned by ECOFIN at all. The truth of the matter will undoubtedly come out in due course.
According to the Commission the money is needed to cover claims for EU funding submitted last year and increased spending across the budget, notably a 15% rise in cohesion funding. Cohesion, according to the European Court of Auditors, has the highest ‘error rate’ – EU speak for unaccounted for money – amongst the various audited policy areas.
It should be noted that the Member States which voted in favour are largely net recipients of Cohesion funding.
It seems bizarre to me that Germany, renowned for its strict approach to finances now wants to reward EU institutions, who throw taxpayers’ cash around like confetti, with an initial € 7.3 billion top up and more to come.
When the European Commission can snap its fingers at compliant MEPs and Finance Ministers, and instantly obtain vast amounts of cash it sets a terrible precedent and worse, makes a joke of the Heads of State summit agreement on the 2013 Budget.
What isn’t funny is the price to be paid by this action. European citizens, already suffering harsh austerity, will once more have to pick up the bill.
You can read more on this story, including comment from me in the Daily Mail here:
The new building currently under construction to house the European Council inBrussels, nicknamed the EU-terus or Hermann’s egg based on its womb-like design, is currently running at 30% over budget according to official figures. Continue reading