EU governments attack commission's plans for 2014-2020 budget
Sep 12, 2011, 17:29 GMT
Brussels - Eight European Union countries, including the bloc's four biggest members - Germany, France, Britain and Italy - weighed in on Monday against proposals by the bloc's executive to increase the EU's budget over 2014-2020.
In June, the European Commission proposed to limit spending over the period to 972 billion euros (1.3 trillion dollars), saying that would represent a freeze in real terms, as the EU's budget would remain equal to its current 1-per-cent-of-gross-national-income (GNI) level.
But the commission kept 58 billion euros for specific projects, including research into a nuclear fusion project in France, off the balance sheet. Factoring them in, global EU spending would rise to 1.06 per cent of GNI.
'The commission proposal is too high,' said a non-official document signed by the EU's 'big four,' along with the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden.
The eight countries noted that national EU budgets were being squeezed as governments battle to trim deficits.
'European public spending cannot be exempt from these considerable public efforts,' they stressed. That stance was relayed to other members of the bloc at a meeting in Brussels of EU affairs ministers.
Budget negotations are often among the most acrimonious between EU countries, and are usually resolved in late-night summits.
Poland' EU affairs minister, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, whose country holds the bloc's presidency, underlined that final decisions on the 2014-2020 spending plans would only need to be taken next year, there was no need to 'overdramatize' Monday's developments.