Conciliation Committee: extracts from the joint press conference by Melchior Wathelet, acting Belgian State Secretary for the Budget, Migration and Asylum Policy, Family Policy and Federal Cultural Institutions and President in office of the Council, and Janusz Lewandowski on Budget 2011
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 16/11/2010 First transmission: 16/11/2010
The last attempt to approve the European Union's budget for 2011 ended in failure early on 16 November 2010, as European Union governments and the European Parliament remained locked in a power struggle. Janusz Lewandowski, Member of the EC in charge of Financial Programming and Budget, and Melchior Wathelet, acting Belgian State Secretary for the Budget, Migration and Asylum Policy, Family Policy and Federal Cultural Institutions and President in office of the Council, gave a joint press conference after the Conciliation Committee, on Budget 2011.
µThe two sides had until midnight local time to find a deal. But talks still broke down, despite Parliamentarians' having bowed to governments' demands to limit budget increases to 2.9 per cent, rather than the 6.2 per cent they had originally asked for.
In return, deputies asked for a "legally-binding" promise to be involved in future discussions on long-term EU financing, giving them a platform to call for an EU-wide tax and the scrapping of national rebates. The requests went too far for a group of EU members. The conciliation's failure meant that the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, will be forced to submit to governments and lawmakers another budget proposal, hoping they could agree on it at the next month's EU summit, scheduled for 16-17 December 2010.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Melchior Wathelet, acting Belgian State Secretary for the Budget, Migration and Asylum Policy, Family Policy and Federal Cultural Institutions and President in office of the Council, and Janusz Lewandowski, Member of the EC in charge of Financial Programming and Budget, arriving to the press conference
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Janusz Lewandowski: But despite numerous efforts, taking hours, dialogues, technical meetings, compromise and solutions delivered by the Commission with absolutely best will of the Belgian presidency and personally Minister Wathelet. It was not visible to get sufficient momentum, especially in the Council, I have to say. And it is not about majority of national delegations, my impression is that majority, absolute majority of national delegations were ready to compromise. But some of them, very few of them were inflating demands, and I think this is the easiest way to say that we are not in favour of agreement when consuming hours, and good will of the others participants of this budgetary game.
||Cutaway of a journalist
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Melchior Wathelet: My point is certainly not to try to find who is guilty. But, of course, that is true that within the Parliament, we have heard the possibility to have a agreement on the 2, 91 % which was not easy for the Parliament. But of course the Parliament was willing to have some other points, more politically speaking, I would say, essentially on budget 2012 and budget 2013. With the most difficult point concerning flexibility (3 plans).
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Janusz Lewandowski: We start preparations on a new draft budget, it will take time. Probably 2011, we will start with provisional 12. This is for sure affecting many important programmes, already mentioned by Minister Wathelet, probably it is about financing of Eternal Action Service, new supervisory boarders. It is also detected problems of compensation for the payments made to the European farmers.
||General view of the conference room