European Union governments on Wednesday (23 October) rejected EU lawmakers’ plans to increase the bloc’s spending next year, sparking a row that could delay funding on climate and research projects.
Tussles over the EU budget are frequent between parliamentarians, who usually push for higher expenditures, and governments which instead try to keep a lid on them.
The parliament agreed on Wednesday to raise EU payments next year to €159.1 billion, an amount that EU states said went beyond ceilings previously agreed.
Among proposed changes, lawmakers voted to increase by more than €2 billion EU spending to counter climate change in 2020, compared to earlier proposals made by the EU executive commission.
In its draft resolution, the Parliament underlines that the EU’s 2020 budget is “the last chance for the European Union to come closer to meeting the political commitments set for that period, including towards reaching the EU climate target”.
Lawmakers and governments’ representatives will now begin talks to try to bridge differences.
If no compromise is found by mid-November, the Commission will have to present a new draft budget, risking delays to projects funded with EU money, from aid to the bloc’s poorest regions to initiatives to create jobs.
In a statement, the Parliament said negotiations on the 2020 budget should “pave the way” for the new long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, the so-called multiannual financial framework (MFF).
Poland has linked MFF negotiations to the EU’s proposed 2050 climate neutrality target, saying it needs more money to phase-out heavily polluting coal power stations.