New budget agreement: Conservatives continue to bear down on EU costs

12-Nov-2013 @ 12:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

An agreement was struck in the early hours of today(Tuesday) on the European Union's budget for 2014.

The package agreed will see headline spending fall from€144.3 billion this year to €135.5 billion in 2014, which represents a decreaseof 9.4 per cent compared to the final outturn in 2013.

However, after protracted negotiations in Brusselsbetween the European Parliament, the Commission and the EU Council, it wasagreed to incorporate additional retrospective sums (amending budgets) into the2014 budget. When adding in inflation, these will mean a real-terms freeze inthe EU budget as compared with the initially-agreed budget for 2013.

Richard Ashworth, leader of Britain's Conservative MEPsand a key UK negotiator on budget, said: "We welcome what is an effectivefreeze of EU budget. Headline spend is still set to fall by six per cent.

"While we voted against additions to the budget, wewelcome the overall direction. Alongside the historic 3.8% reduction which wehave secured on the EU's long-term budget, this as further evidence of usbringing genuine discipline to EU spending.

"These kind of negotiations will become the norm asEU is obliged to come to terms with life in the real world.

"Our drive to bring down costs in Europe iscontinuing to bring results. It began with David Cameron's historiclong-term-budget deal last February – and it is continuing now.

"It is particularly welcome that money has beenswitched away from less-useful budget headings to the important areas ofresearch and development, education, training and jobs. If we are to restartEurope's economy, this is where spending needs to be focused instead of on petschemes, bureaucracy and vanity protects.

"In the long term there needs to be a completereview of the structure of the EU budget from top to bottom, but for the timebeing this is a step in the right direction."

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