EU agrees on tight 2010 budget at 122.9 bln euros

  

European Union governments pushed through cuts in the bloc's 2010 draft budget on Wednesday (18 November) as they fought to control spending which is soaring due to the economic crisis.

Negotiators from the EU's 27 member states reached a deal with the European Parliament to set the bloc's budget at 122.9 billion euros next year, less than the 127.5 billion spending proposed by the legislature.

Officials said that despite the cuts, which affected mostly traditional aid for poor regions, the negotiators agreed on an additional 2.4 billion euros in special measures to combat the crisis.

Governments are pouring billions of euros into their economies to battle the crisis so they are eager to keep other spending under control.

About an extra 300 million euros was secured to support milk producers and 75 million for the decommissioning of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.

In next year's budget some 45% of spending will still go to farm subsidies and rural development and a third in aid for poor regions.

In 2010, EU governments will start negotiating reform of the budget to shift spending away from agriculture towards research and innovation, politicians say.

Speaking at the close of negotiations, EU Budget Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta said the Commission "is very pleased that this agreement is so close to what we proposed in last April, with payments set at €122.937bn".

"Next year's budget is an economic recovery budget – it's about getting ready for better times, maintaining jobs, stimulating growth".

(EurActiv with Reuters.)

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