Insufficient resources for the EU budget is putting at risk European action in the member states, including investment in the countries worst hit by the crisis and flagship programmes such as Erasmus, Alain Lamassoure, chairman of the EP's budget committee warned. The French Christian Democrat MEP stressed that the situation must not only be rectified this year, but also next year.
More Europe rather than less is needed if we are to successfully tackle the crisis, according to one of the EP's negotiators for next year's EU budget. Italian Christian Democrat MEP Giovanni La Via unveiled his recipe for a successful revamp of the economy during a chat with our Facebook fans: " I firmly believe that Europe and its policies are the way out of the crisis. We need to invest, in a responsible way, in research, small and medium-sized companies and innovation."
MEPs have hit out at member states for proposing to cut growth and employment boosting policies during a debate on 11 September. Back in June member states called for the EU's budget to be a catalyst for growth and jobs, but only a few weeks later they put forward a budget proposal with significant cuts in research and development spending, which MEPs say are vital to kick-starting the economy.
MEPs will debate and vote on 13 June on a resolution outlining the EP's position on the EU's long-term budget, also known as the multi annual financial framework (MFF). The draft resolution insists on a reform of the income system for the EU budget, including the introduction of a financial transaction tax and a new VAT, in order to slash member states contributions. The Parliament wants to send out a strong signal to member states ahead of the Council meeting on 28 and 29 June.
Who watches the watchers? The European Court of Auditors might audit the EU's finances, but it is up to the European Parliament to vet potential candidates for the Court. MEPs voted on 13 June to endorse Bulgarian Christian-Democrat MEP Iliana Ivanova for the post. She had already been endorsed by the EP's budgetary control committee after interviewing her on Monday 4 May.
MEPs approved the European Commission's 2010 budget spending on 10 May, under the EU's annual budget discharge procedure. They also endorsed the financial management of almost all the other institutions and agencies and the European Development Fund. It was the Parliament's responsability to determine whether the EU spent European taxpayers' money wisely in 2010 in accordance with the rules that govern the implementation of the EU budget.
"The European Parliament will not accept less money for the European budget." These were the words with which the Parliament's president Martin Schulz opened the conference on the EU's long-term budget framework for 2014-2020 on 22 March. Only with a reasonable budget can Europe invest to boost growth at a time of austerity, Schulz said. He added that the EU budget should be fully funded by own resources, thus avoiding arduous negotiations with member states over national contributions.
The EU's long-term budget and how it should be financed will be discussed on Thursday 22 March at a high level conference on the EU´s budget for 2014-2020, known as the multiannual financial framework. Also on the agenda is the issue of how to ensure the EU will still be able the meet the objectives of growth strategy Europe 2020 despite the economic crisis. You will be able to follow the conference live on our website.
In a hectic six months, MEPs negotiated a 2012 budget that met EP concerns about growth, innovation and employment and got stuck into deciding how the EU long-term budget should look in future as well as the reform of farm policy. The EP marked the momentous events in the Arab world by awarding this year's Sakharov prize for freedom of thought to five Arab Spring activists.
The European Parliament's October vote on next year's EU budget marked the beginning of the final stage of negotiations. With the agreement on the size and priorities of the 2012 budget, reached on the evening of 18 November, it took a concrete step towards a final agreement. The EP and Council agreed that the 2012 budget should rise 1.86%.