MEPs have debated the EU's long-term budget with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Parliament has the right to veto a political deal reached by member state's governments at this month's summit.
On Friday 8 February European Heads of State and Government agreed on maximum ceilings for the EU budgets for the period 2014-2020. The overall amount for commitments was set at €960 billion and for actual payments at €908 billion.
For the first time in the EU's history, the next budget (2014-2020) will be smaller than during the previous one (2007-2013). Following the 26-hour negotiations, €18 billion of additional cuts were made compared with the earlier proposals tabled at the last summit in November.
The leaders made two concessions to the European Parliament: they included a clause that allows a review of the spending plan after two years, and they agreed to a degree of flexibility in shifting unused funds between years and budget headings. Both of these provisions have been left undefined and are to be fleshed out in negotiations with MEPs. The leaders also agreed a €6bn youth employment initiative, with half the funding to come from the European Social Fund. Regions with more than 25% youth.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament in Brussels
||Cutaways of the ambience before the meeting (6 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (French) Joseph DAUL (EPP-ED, FR): " The European Council has gone far beyond with this proposal. It is a violation of the legislative powers of the European Parliament".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Joseph DAUL (EPP-ED, FR): "The European Council has gone far beyond with this proposal. The members of the European Parliament must be able to review the budget because otherwise it is difficult to understand why we organize European Parliament elections in 2014, we can keep this money and push the elections forward to 2019."
||SOUNDBITE (German) Hannes SWODOBA (S&D, AT): "The Parliament has put forward this proposal but do you really think that with 6 billions we are going to manage all these things that you have guaranteed particularly with the rising levels of youth unemployment across the EU, 6 billions it is not going to be enough ".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Guy VERHOFSTAD, (ALDE, BE): "I think, an that is my conclusion, Mr. chairman, this is not an MFF that the Parliament can accept. I think that there is only one possibility to be negotiated, and maybe to enter a review clause or maybe a sunset clause."
||SOUNDBITE (French) Isabelle DURANT (Greens/EFA, BE): "I think we do not have here reasonable ideas, there is not a wise European Council on one hand and an unreasonable Parliament on the other. I do not think that is fair. I think that the Parliament has been fair. We need investments, innovation, we need all sort of investments in all sort of areas and we want cohesion. We have to do more things than before, more than we did in the past because in the meantime we have had a crisis ".
||SOUNDBITE ( English) Martin CALLANAN (ECR, UK): ""Members of this house must be accountable to our election on how we vote on this agreement. This is one of the most important votes that we will take and must be able to defend our decisions to the very tax payers who pay the EU bills."
||SOUNDBITE ( English) Paul NUTTALL (EPP-ED, UK): "And to make things even worse I now here that the four larger groups in the Parliament wants to vote on this budget in secret. I ask you, what are you afraid off? Are you afraid of your own national parliaments back home or actually are you more afraid of the people who elected you in the first place. To vote secretly on an issue of this importance, which affects your own constituency in times of austerity quite frankly it is the stuff of a Banana Republic not a democratic organisation that you pretend to be."
||SOUNDBITE ( Dutch) Kartika Tamara LIOTARD (EUL/NGL, NL): "The money from the project for young people has to be taken from others social projects expending plans. I thin k that this is going to really squize the social budget across the EU".
||SOUNDBITE ( Dutch) Laurence J.A.J. STASSEN (ITS, NL): "Everything depends on economic growth which is not there. The EP is going to block this and not because they want to spend the money. The reason why the Parliament is against is because they wanted to be rather different."