The European Parliament's budget for 2013 should be frozen in real terms, confirmed the Budgets Committee on Wednesday, in a vote on budget guidelines negotiated by Parliament's political bodies. MEPs also reiterated their demand for a single seat for Parliament and sought to prevent Parliament's money going to non-democratic parties.
Parliament's budget will increase by 1.9%, exactly in line with a request sent by Budgets Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski to all EU institutions. However, a further €8.5 million will be added to meet additional costs related to the arrival of Croatian MEPs.
Derek Vaughan (S&D, UK), who will steer the budget proposal through Parliament, was pleased with the outcome of the internal negotiations: "We have managed to bring the initial estimates down by € 9.3 million, resulting in an increase limited to EU-27 inflation. We have frozen member's allowances and even cut the travel costs for MEPs that were already frozen for this year. We also agreed to look for possibilities for further savings in the course of this year, on which we can decide in autumn when we vote the entire budget"
Pointing to the substantial savings that could be made by having only one work place instead of three (Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg), a majority of committee members called on the Council of Ministers to act on their repeated demand that Parliament should have only one seat for members and officials. They stressed that Parliament should have the right to decide its own working arrangements, which they believe is not the case at present.
No grants to non-democratic parties
Committee members also sought to ensure that the European Parliament grants no money to parties that do not fully respect the EU's founding principles and the Charter of Human Rights. They are concerned that principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are not being fully respected by all parties requesting funding of the budget for political parties and foundations.
The proposal will be put to a plenary vote on 28 March.
In the chair : Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR)