Parliament has reminded member states they still face negotiations over the EU's long-term budget before approval by MEPs. The European Council agreed spending plans for 2014-2020 on 8 February, but Parliament's four largest political groups have indicated that the deal as it is may not receive the necessary parliamentary majority. They feel it does too little to stimulate growth and job creation and are concerned it could lead to a structural deficit. "The real negotiations will start now."
Member states decided to cut the long-term budget - also known as the multiannual frame work - by 3.4% or €34 billion, partly by reducing planned funding for investment in infrastructure, broadband, research and digitalisation.
A budget that promotes growth and job creation is preferred by the leaders of Parliament's four largest parties: EPP, S&D, ALDE and Greens/EFA. They are also concerned about the gap between commitments and the money available to pay for them. In a statement they said: "We see with astonishment that EU leaders agree to a budget that could lead to a structural deficit. Large gaps between payments and commitments will only store up trouble for the future and not solve existing problems." They also call for the EU to have genuine own resources in order to reduce member states' contributions.
The Summit agreement has to be approved by MEPs before it can enter into force. Parliament will enter into discussions with the Council before voting on the spending plans.
EP president Martin Schulz commented: "There are some disappointing elements and encouraging elements. We will now check and analyse seriously the decisions and the proposals and then we will decide in the Parliament."
Story originally published on 11 February
Budget commitments €960 billion
Initial Commission proposal €1,033 billion
The spending limit drops 3.4% compared with 2007–2013
Represents 1% of the EU's gross national income