No solution for dispute over financing of enlargement

The European Parliament and the Council were
unable to reach an agreement over the budget for enlargement in
Athens on 1 April. However, the Parliament is determined to
give its assent to the Accession Treaty on 9 April despite the
budgetary dispute.

The Council rejected the Parliament's demand to adjust the
EU's Financial Perspective running up to 2006 so that
enlargement could be financed adequately. The Parliament
insisted on increasing the budget for internal policies by
600 million euro in favour of the future Member States. The
Greek Presidency was not willing to go beyond a 300 million
euro increase.

The current agreement on the financing
of enlargement fixes the budget for the future EU members,
laid down in Annex XV to the Accession Treaty, which
encroaches on the Parliament's prerogative to have a say in
budgetary matters. Annex XV fixes the budget for the new
members for structural policies until 2006 and for
agricultural expenditure until 2013 (

see EURACTIV of 28
March 2003

).

The European Parliament is now waiting
for a decision by the 15 EU ambassadors (the COREPER) on 2
April before it decides how to proceed. If the Council
refuses to adjust the Financial Perspective sufficiently,
the Parliament might consider that Council is renouncing
the Interinstitutional Agreement, which contains the
Financial Perspective.

However, there is consensus within the
Parliament to keep the enlargement timetable and ratify the
Accession Treaty on 9 April, which is a prerequisite for
the signature of the Treaty. The Accession Treaty is to be
signed at a special Summit in Athens on 19 April.

 

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