After one of the most controversial and long-fought battles the European Parliament has recently seen, MEPs finally approved on Tuesday Europe’s budget for the next 7 years.
The so-called multi-annual financial framework was adopted by 537 votes to 126 against, with most of the opposition coming from the eurosceptics and the Greens.
Worth €960 billion, it is the first time in the history of the Union that real spending cuts are included in a long-term budget.
‘Parliament with its priority was absolutely right in finding answer to the lower volumes. We have 40 Billion less for the future then we have now and that never happened in the history of the EU, however the right answer is flexibility, because it is coming beyond the special instruments, like flexibility instrument, this is about so called global margins in payments and commitments and this was due to the effort of the Parliament that we have that unusual flexibility, a right answer to the lower volumes of the future,’ said EU Commissioner for Budget Janusz Lewandowski.
The European institutions reached an informal political agreement on the EU budget earlier in June, but MEPs decided to delay the vote as some of their conditions had not been met.
After long negotiations, the Parliament succeeded in ensuring more flexibility in funding EU programmes. This means that it will be easier to switch budget funds from one project to another. The EU will also be able to keep unspent money rather than returning it to national coffers.
‘Despite the unprecedented cut of the budget, never there have been such cuts in the budget of the Union, we have been able nevertheless to agree on a mechanism that would ensure a more efficient utilisation of funds. (…). We are very serious about the mid term review. We are serious because in two years time it is going to be clear that the European budget can be absorbed much more efficiently and effectively. We are going to insist on continuing talks on own resources and achieving results’, said Bulgarian S&D MEP Ivailo Kalfin.
MEPs will also vote on Wednesday on Europe’s budget for 2014.