Conservatives give cautious welcome to EU draft budget

30-Jun-2016 @ 16:30

No items found. No items found. No items found.

The EU's draft budget for 2017 has received a cautious welcome from Conservative MEP Richard Ashworth.

Published today by European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, the draft recommends a 1.7 per cent increase in commitments to €157.7 billion and a 6.2 per cent fall in payments to €134.9 billion.

Mr Ashworth, the Conservative Budgets spokesman, welcomed the priority given to programmes aimed at economic growth, such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and Horizon 2020, which backs research and innovation projects. He also supported a recommendation that unused money in the agriculture and administrative budgets should be used to help address the migration crisis.

Both these steps have previously been called for by Conservative MEPs.

Mr Ashworth said: "It's good to see that several of our priorities have been picked up by the commissioner. We still have some concerns and need to look more closely at the detail. We will raise these issues in due course with the Commission and the Parliament.

"Brexit does not have an immediate impact on our role in the annual budget process and of course the UK continues to contribute financially, so we will continue to work to deliver a measured and targeted budget."

The draft budget allocates €10.6 billion to Horizon 2020, €2.66 billion to EFSI and €5.2 billion to reinforce the EU's external borders and tackle the refugee crisis.

« Back