16:56 - EU: DRAFT BUDGET, MORE FUNDS TO GROWTH, EMPLOYMENT AND RESEARCH
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - The Commissions draft budget for 2013 - which is now to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament - includes €62.5 billion in investments to stimulate growth and employment in Europe. This is the biggest budget item, accounting for 46.7% of the overall budget. The Commission says: A particular effort has been made towards the Research Framework Programmes (€9.0 billion, 28.1% increase on 2012), the competitiveness and innovation programmes, structural and cohesion funds, as well as life long learning. €50 billion, that is, 40% of the budget would go to agriculture and the preservation and management of natural resources. It is legitimate for people to wonder why we call for a 6.8% increase in payments in these times of crisis, says Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski. There are two reasons for this: first, 2013 is the last year of the current financial period and the last year of each financial period always sees a sharp increase in payments as EU-funded projects across Europe reach completion: bridges, railways, motorways have been built for the greater good of all, now we must pay the bills for them. (continued)
16:57 - EU: DRAFT BUDGET, MORE FUNDS TO GROWTH, EMPLOYMENT AND RESEARCH (2)
Second - Commissioner Lewandowski continues -, in recent years the Member States within the Council and the European Parliament have adopted EU budgets that were well below our estimated needs for payments. This has led to a ‘snowballing effect of unpaid bills as each year we could not honour some of our legal commitments due to shortages of funds. When your electricity or water bill arrives - the Polish commissioner says -, you must pay it even if you seek savings. Italian MEP Giovanni La Via, European Parliaments Rapporteur for the 2013 EU General Budget, also comments on the Commissions proposal. I hope that the proposed budget will allow EU projects to continue without difficulty. This is why we asked the European Commission to make a realistic proposal for payments. This proposal looks sufficient even though it is below our requests. To recover from the crisis, I am convinced that we need ‘more Europe not ‘less Europe. Therefore I don‘t agree totally on this proposal. We need a stronger commitment to find effective ways to get back to growth and job creation that are the priorities agreed by all three European Institutions.