New budget, old problems
05 April 2006, For immediate release
Last night the negotiators of the European Parliament, Council and Commission finally came to a conclusion over the Financial Perspectives for 2007-2013. With an increase of around 4 billion Euro of December’s Council agreement, the Union is now facing the future.
“The final compromise on the Financial Perspectives is a mockery of the EU’s self-declared ambitions” comments Jan Seifert, president of JEF-Europe in a first reaction. “A serious underpinning of the renewed Lisbon Strategy with a focus on investing in people would require a completely different budget than that presented. Still the Union spends more money on its farmers than on developing human potentials. But the prevalence of national egoisms prevents the Union as a whole to move forward. The nitpickers in the national ministries of finance keep their eyes on the tight GNI-% or national flagship-projects financed with EU money.”
“The 4 billion top-up of the awful Council proposal is a last-minute fix to prevent the worst. The EU can possibly live with this budget, but it will not prosper. The global challenges of the Union as much as the growing disconnection of the politicians and citizens in Europe are still not adequately addressed with the prevalence of the old budget structure.” comments Jan Seifert.
“Only thanks to the Parliament’s insistence an actual decrease of funding for the youth and culture programmes has been prevented. We also welcome the increase of Erasmus places, but remind governments of JEF’s claim that every European should be given the opportunity to spend 6-12 months of his education, be it in university or training, in another European country.”
“The negotiations over the last three presidencies have shown that the real problem with the Financial Perspectives is a more fundamental one. As long as the EU’s resources originate by about 75% in national budgets, it is only natural that national finance ministers follow the juste-retour logic. Therefore, JEF demands the introduction of real own resources, e.g. in the form of EU-taxes. The central issue in that respect is to take up the Council on its own declaration of December 2005 and come to a serious revision of revenue and expenditure in 2009, so as to allow the next Parliament and Commission to vote on a reformed budgetary framework once in office.
JEF’s position on the Financial Perspectives and the future financing of the Union can be found online:
- On the Financial Perspectives: click here
- On the future Financing of the Union: click here