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Budgets Committee approves amending budgets
The Budgets Committee approved three outstanding draft amending budgets for 2013 on Tuesday. They concern €150 million in extra European Social Fund funding for France, Italy and Spain (DAB 7), €3.9 billion to stop the EU budget ending 2013 in deficit (DAB 8) and €401 million to deal with flood damage in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic and drought in Romania (DAB 9). The Council’s approval of DAB 8 is a prerequisite for Parliament to approve the long-term budget 2014-2020.
Amending budgets 7 and 8 have already been approved by the Council and now just need confirmation by Parliament as a whole, most likely at the November plenary session.
On amending budget 9, which concerns solidarity funding to repair flood and drought damage Parliament and Council still differ.
Parliament backs the Commission proposal to add €401 million in fresh money for the solidarity funding, whereas the member states want it to be financed from the current budget through the ”Global Transfer”', a budgetary housekeeping operation that the Commission carries out at the end of each budgetary year.
However, the Commission has in fact already done its budgetary housekeeping and as a result proposed cutting funding to €510 million on 37 different budget lines so as to strengthen another 51 budget lines that are in urgent need of additional funds. These include for example help for Syrian refugees. If the Council's proposal to use the global transfer money for the flood and drought damage were accepted, there would hardly be any money left for the urgent needs identified by the Commission.
Parliament's MEP in charge of the 2013 Budget, Mr Giovanni La Via, welcomed the result of the votes: "Especially the additional €3.9 billion is a big step towards preventing the EU budget from going into deficit. Moreover, it was a prerequisite for Parliament's approval of the long-term budget, which is now getting close", he said On the difference of opinion regarding the solidarity funding, Mr La Via noted "we intend to stick to our position as this is about solidarity. It will be part of the package to be unravelled in conciliation in the coming week".
The 21-days budget conciliation talks for an agreement on next year's budget started on 23 October. The closing meeting is planned for 11 November.
DAB7 approved by a show of hands
DAB8 approved by 26 to 5 with 0 abstentions
DAB9 approved by 26 to 4 with 1 abstention
In the chair, Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR)