Conservative EU budget message is winning through

27-May-2015 @ 14:15

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Pressure from David Cameron and Conservative MEPs is helping to achieve greater budgetary discipline in the EU.

That was the view from Richard Ashworth MEP today as he responded to an announcement by the EU Commission of its draft budget for the bloc in 2016.

Mr Ashworth, Conservative budget spokesman in the European Parliament, said:This is encouraging – we have here a budget with better focus and better discipline."

He was speaking after the Budget Commissioner, Vice President Kristalina Giorgieva, announced planned spending commitments represent €153.5 billion in 2016 (down 5.3% from 2015) and actual payments of €143.5 billion (up 1.6% from 2015).

This amounts to roughly stable spendingin real terms relative to 2015 in a package that includes the payments needed to begin to tackle a backlog of outstanding claims from previous unbalanced budgets, which reached €24.7 billion at the end of 2014.

Mr Ashworth said: The commissioner is seeking to do more with less. I support this and I am very happy to see the areas that the Commissioner is willing to focus the budget on - including jobs, growth, migration and addressing problems in Ukraine.

He cautioned that the devil would be in the detail as budget negotiations continued and he expressed concern that the budget still included commitments to pay out €10bn more than it actually budgeted to spend.

But he concluded: "I look forward to discussing with the commissioner the weaker areas she has identified such as the agencies.

"There is a welcome approach regarding unpaid bills. I admire the Commissioner's optimistic target of a €2bn reduction by 2016. I also approve of the greater focus on the role of member states in accepting greater discipline in their forecasting.

"There is also a subtle challenge here to the European Parliament - to control its administrative expenditure better. Quite right."

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