At the plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 March, MEPs voted almost unanimously against the Council’s decision to include budgetary figures in the Accession Treaty. MEPs threatened with “war over next year’s budget” if no agreement is reached over the financing of enlargement.
MEPs declared the Council’s move “a unilateral violation” of Parliament’s budgetary prerogatives. They warned it also represents discrimination between current and future Member States because budget funds for the new members will be set in stone in contrast to funding for current members.
A trialogue between the Parliament, Council and Commission on 27 March failed to resolve the question, but another meeting is planned for 1 April in Athens. The Parliament is putting pressure on the Council to withdraw or alter Annex XV to the Accession Treaty, which includes the contested budget figures.
Parliament declared that the Council’s approach can be considered as a signal that the Interinstitutional Agreement is defunct, which means that multi-annual budgeting will be abandoned and future budget negotiations between Council and Parliament may become extremely fraught.