Parliament wants a timely remedy for the 2013 budget shortfalls and is ready to intensify negotiations on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). These were the key conclusions of this morning's European Parliament Budgets Committee meeting.
Parliament insists that the issue of the additional funds needed to pay this year's and last year's bills - €11.2 billion - must be resolved before concluding the MFF negotiations. Without a solution, the 2014 budget, the first of the new MFF, would start off with a deficit. The need to settle outstanding bills before agreeing on a fresh budget was stressed in a resolution adopted on 13 March by an overwhelming majority in Parliament.
Last week (6 May) President Schulz, Parliament's lead negotiator Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR), the Irish Council Presidency and Commission President Barroso acknowledged the need for €11.2 billion and agreed on a two-tranche approach for the shortfalls: a first tranche of €7.3 billion to be adopted now, followed by a second in early autumn.
However, the finance ministers' meeting of 14 May produced a political agreement on the€7.3 billion, without mentioning the remaining €3.9 billion. The Council says it would formally adopt the €7.3 billion budget amendment only in parallel to its adoption of the MFF. "For the Council the adoption of the Amending Budget of €7.3 billion would mean the end of the negotiations, whereas for Parliament it is the start", said committee chair Lamassoure this morning.
MEPs - while acknowledging the political agreement on the €7.3 billion as a positive step forward - reiterated the need for a formal, binding decision by the Council on the full amount of €11.2 billion before concluding the MFF negotiations.
Meanwhile, Parliament is committed to engaging in fully-fledged negotiations on the MFF and the accompanying Inter-Institutional Agreement. Nevertheless, Parliament thinks it is time to get to the bottom of things now and suggests intensifying the negotiations, since the first meeting showed that they will not be easy. During the first trilogue meeting on 13 May, Parliament's negotiating team presented its position in detail on all the elements that are on the table and now awaits a response from the Council.
In the chair: Alain Lamassoure