The Conference of Presidents of political groups
in the European Parliament has put additional pressure on the
Council to renegotiate the financing deal on enlargement. At
its meeting on 13 March, the Conference fired a warning shot to
the Council by not adopting the agenda of the April plenary
session where the Accession Treaty is to be
The Conference of Presidents decided not to adopt the
agenda of the April plenary session to send a political
signal to the Council that the Parliament will not accept
this breach of the inter-institutional agreement which
gives the Parliament a say on budgetary matters.
In the Parliament’s view, the inclusion
of maximum spending figures in a treaty contravenes the
Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999, according to
which any adjustment to the financial perspective in the
event of enlargement is a matter for a joint decision by
the Council and the European Parliament.
It also introduces discrimination
between current and future Member States, which would be
subject to different rules, and it runs counter to the
provisions of the treaties currently in force.
The Conference of Presidents therefore
decided that if Annex XV was not amended or withdrawn, it
would constitute a breach of the Interinstitutional
Agreement and Parliament would have to draw the appropriate
conclusions. If the principle of a multi-annual financial
perspective were to be questioned, the EU would have to
revert to annual negotiations, as in the past.
The Committee of Permanent
Representatives (COREPER) decided on 12 March to use the
Commission’s proposal for a Decision on the adjustment of
the financial perspective for enlargement as the basis for
the Council’s discussion of this issue. The Commission
proposed that over the period 2004-2006, the annual
spending ceilings shall be raised by the corresponding
expenditure requirements resulting from the accession of
ten new Member States.