Parliament's President Martin Schulz urged the blocking minority of member states to stop preventing the Commission from paying bills it is legally obliged to pay, in a debate in Strasbourg on Wednesday. These member states' refusal to agree on an amending budget for 2012 was the reason why budget negotiations broke down on 13 November. The Commission is to present a new draft budget on Friday, 23 November.
"There are some member states in the Council which are not willing to honour their own promises. They are trying to push the EU to adopt a deficit budget. They may have done this at home, and too often and for a too long, but this house is not willing to accept such procedures at European level", said Mr Schulz, referring to the main cause of the current deadlock in the annual budget negotiations. This is that a blocking minority of member states refuse to adopt an amending budget to enable the Commission to pay its bills, despite last year's promise to act promptly to remedy any such shortfalls.
During the debate with the Cyprus Presidency of the Council and the Commission, several MEPs from various political groups underlined the same message.
Promise to remedy cash shortfalls as fast as possible
The declaration, signed a year ago by all member states and Parliament, says: "The Council and the European Parliament (...) ask the Commission to request additional payment appropriations in an amending budget if the appropriations entered in the 2012 budget are insufficient. (...) The Council and the European Parliament will take a position on any draft amending budget as quickly as possible in order to avoid any shortfall in payment appropriations."
(For full declaration, see link to the right).
"If there are still unpaid bills for 2012, we cannot take any serious decision for 2013. (...) The European Parliament is not willing to negotiate in this way. If we do not solve the problems in 2012, the EU will need to pay interest on the delays. This is not a proper way to run a budget, it is not sound financial management", Mr Schulz added.
The Commission is to present a new draft budget on Friday 23 November. After that, negotiations will re-start between Parliament and Council, aiming for a deal to be adopted at the 10-13 December plenary session.