EU Budget: Brussels tightens belt

21 November 2011 – Presseurop Dziennik Gazeta Prawna

Fifteen hours of “murderous” negotiations was all it took to hammer out a deal on next year’s European Union budget. On November 19, the decision was made that it would grow just 2 percent to 129 billion euro. As Dziennik Gazeta Prawna notes, this means the first ever “real drop in EU spending”, as the eurozone inflation rate reached 3 percent in September. The Commission and the Parliament, both of which called for a much higher budget rise (postulating a 5 percent increase), had to bow to the net payers’ pressure.

“The rich countries have had their way”, comments the Warsaw daily and names them all: the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Finland. These member states had long fought for the EU budget to be frozen in real terms, arguing that the Commission was in no position to raise spending when everyone around was making cuts. “The result of the negotiations on the 2012 budget may prove a precedent for the much more important bargaining over the 2014-2020 Financial Framework”, concludes the Warsaw daily, stressing that the UK, supported by France and Germany, has already made it clear it won’t agree to any spending growth above inflation. The new EU Financial Framework is to be endorsed by the end of next year.

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