Conservatives send Commission a budget-talks warning

24-Oct-2013 @ 13:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Conservative MEPs today sent a warning message to the EUCommission over poor management and brinksmanship in its handling of budgetnegotiations.

British Conservatives registered abstentions in avote over the so-called Draft Amending Budget 6, which shifts €2.7billion Euros from customs revenue as source of funding for the EUbudget, to national contributions, in order to cover bills which theCommission faces due to a shortfall of customs duties as a result of thefinancial crisis.

Ultimately the measure will result in what iseffectively a mini-rebate for Britain £352 million by switchingrevenue-sourcing to a pot to which UK contributions are proportionallysmaller, but MEPs across party groups have been exasperated by the EUCommission's approach to negotiations.

Richard Ashworth, the leader of Britain's ConservativeMEPs and group negotiator on budget, said: "At a budget committee meetingon Monday night, out of the blue, the Commission announced that they weresuffering a €2.7 billion loss of revenue because the economic downturnmeant reduced income from import duties. Then we were threatened withthe suggestion that if the DAB6 money wasn't handed over within daysthe EU would be unable to meet its legal obligations.

"Today's vote came against thisbackground of considerable disquiet in the Parliament over the Commission'sapproach. You shouldn't suddenly now be flagging up the supposedconsequences of a downturn we have had for three years. To do so is eitherincompetent or disingenuous.

"This was really to send a message that weare far from happy with the Commission's approach. Itdemonstrates more than ever the fundamental need to reform the budget."

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