Presentation by the Council of its position on the draft general budget - 2014 financial year:
Lieu: European Parliament , Strasbourg, EP Plenary session - Hemicycle
End production: 10/09/2013 First transmission: 10/09/2013
The Council has presented its position by its Lithuanian Presidency on EU's 2014 budget before the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg. The Council has proposed an amount of €142.5 billion in commitments and €136.1 billion in payments, , i.e. cuts of €9 billion (-6%) in commitments and €9.5 billion (-6.6%) in payments compared to this year.
Despite its recent promises to prioritise (youth) employment and growth-stimulating programmes for research, education and small- and medium-sized enterprises, these are precisely the areas where the Council has proposed the deepest cuts, totaling €426 million (3%). The Council also has proposed cuts of €157 million in external policy (- 2.5%) and €153 million in administration (-1.8%). The least-affected spending areas are the structural funds and agriculture.
Meanwhile the long-standing issue of the payments shortage for 2013 has yet to be resolved and MEPs feared that it might affect the budget negotiations unless a swift solution is found. Early this year, the Commission estimated it would run short of €11.2 billion to pay its outstanding bills this year, but so far the Member States have agreed to only €7.3 billion.
The Parliament has also showed its concern about the mounting cost of outstanding commitments that have yet to be turned into payments (the so-called "reste à liquider" RAL). The RAL will amount to €235 billion by the end of this year, adding substantially to all future payments.
Parliament's Budgets Committee will state its position on the Council amendments on 2 and 3 October. This position will be put to a plenary vote on 23 October. If the Council does not accept Parliament's changes, a 21-day conciliation period will follow.
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 building in Strasbourg
||SOUNDBITE (English) Algimantas RIMKŪNAS, Lithuanian Finance Vice-Minister representing the EU Council: "The Council's position on the first draft annual under multiannual financial framework foresees in absolute figures €142.2 billion in commitments and €135 billion in payments. It was supported by the large majority of Member States."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Algimantas RIMKŪNAS, Lithuanian Finance Vice-Minister representing the EU Council: "The Council supports the actions in favour of the competitiveness in particular of SMEs and for investments in education and in human skills through the Erasmus for all programs."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Algimantas RIMKŪNAS, Lithuanian Finance Vice-Minister representing the EU Council: "The reductions applied by the Council to large projects such as ITER and Tran European networks, is in line with the approach recently suggested by the Commission to front load appropriations for Horizon 2020, Erasmus and COSME, and for the first year of the new multiannual financial framework and to compensate this frontloading by postponing such an expenditure for large projects for later years."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Algimantas RIMKŪNAS, Lithuanian Finance Vice-Minister representing the EU Council: "The Council proposes to stabilize the level of appropriations compared to 2013. Nevertheless, the Council agrees to slightly increase the appropriations for market related expenditure and direct payments under the European Agriculture Guarantee Fund by 0.27%. The reductions applied to the heading cuts distributed between the European Agriculture Fund for rural development and European maritime and fisheries funds."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Algimantas RIMKŪNAS, Lithuanian Finance Vice-Minister representing the EU Council: "The Council backs the appropriation proposed by the Commission in relation to asylum and migration, initiatives in the areas of external borders, justice, internal security, public health and consumer protection."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Janusz LEWANDOWSKI, European Commissioner for financial programming and budget: "The session today is the second opportunity for me after the trialogue to express my deepest concern with the Council reading of the budget proposal for 2014."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Janusz LEWANDOWSKI, European Commissioner for financial programming and budget: "Our proposal, due to the low ceilings of the starting period of the next financial perspectives , our proposal was in commitment by 6% which means €9,1 billion less than we need for this year and, in payments by €8,4% billion less that we need for 2014."
||SOUNDBITE (Danish) Anne E. JENSEN (ALDE, DK), rapporteur: "The immediate reaction in the Parliament to the Council's draft budget is disappointment. Disappointment as they have to guarantee growth and employment. They carrying back in payments where we know that they are already so low that the EU can not live up to its commitments. This is unacceptable, is untenable".
||SOUNDBITE (Danish) Anne E. JENSEN (ALDE, DK), rapporteur: "Now off course tradition has been always been uncertain about how high payments should be outlined in the budget because there is uncertainty about when the invoices coming on the big projects. This has been for many years, we have systematically accepted that we cut the amount back as it has been invested by the Member States. But now, we are so far down, that it hurts already that the Commission had had difficulties to pay its bills. And the next year the situation might be even worse. This is unacceptable to put the Commission in this kind of situation so next year the European Parliament will focus on payment appropriations in the upcoming negotiations. "
||SOUNDBITE (French) Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR), Chair of the Committee on Budgets : "We have agreed on everything and it has to be implemented. As the roman said in latin. "Pacta sunt servanda". Same thing goes for amending bodies and payment appropriations for 2013. This week we are going to vote on the first tranche of the meeting appropriations. The European Commission is going to promote the second tranche which amounts to 3.9 billion. Until we will have a formal agreement on the second tranche by a body that enjoy the confidence of the Council, the ratification of the 2014-20 budget framework will not be voted on the plenary ion this House. We have initially schedule this vote on the MMF on this plenary session. It is supposed to take place tomorrow. And now the date has shifted to the second of October part session. It has been postponed for a month, and if it is necessary it will be postponed again."