Battle lines drawn to resist fresh EU budget cash grab

27-Mar-2013 @ 13:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Conservative MEPs today pledgedto fiercely resist a bid by The European Commission to add an extra €11.2bn tothe EU budget for 2013. 

The Commission today announced itsdemand for the Council to reimburse some of the money spent by the member statesduring 2012. The commission claims part of that money was in excess of thefunding available from the 2012 budget and, unless it is reimbursed now, it willhave to be carried over into the budget for 2013.

The move - which the Commission andsome MEPs are calling the "big bang" - has the support of the EuropeanParliament's socialist president Martin Schulz.

Richard Ashworth, the leader ofBritain's Conservative MEPsand a key UK negotiator on the Parliament'sBudget Committee, described the move as "confrontational anddisruptive".

He said: "President Schulz and theCommission have acknowledged the likely success of David Cameron's deal on thelong-term budget- They realise there is a broad acceptance in Parliament thatthe agreement to reduce the overall cost of the budget for the first time inhistory will stick.

"It is clear the Prime Minister willhave his way and the budget will be reduced from 2014. So instead we are seeingan attempt by President Schulz and others to pick a different fight and flextheir muscles over 2013 spending.

"It is confrontational anddisruptive, but In a sense it is a last hurrah because they are trying to wringthe last few millions they can from the budget granted by Labour and TonyBlair under Britain's last presidency of the EUCouncil.

"Fortunately the budget negotiatedby Mr Cameron will come into force from January 1st next year; but neverthelesswe will fight this attempt to squeeze yet more taxpayers' cash from the existingBlair budget."

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