Convention keen to deal with EU’s finances

The Convention President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing has revealed new draft articles of the future Constitutional Treaty, dealing with the EU’s finances.

Draft Articles 38 to 40 make upTitle VII – Union Financesof the draft Constitutional Treaty. They cover the following areas:

  • Article 38 – The Union’s resources:The Union’s budget shall be financed wholly from own resources (this article reproduces the existing Article 269 of the Treaty of the European Community);
  • Article 39 – The budgetary and financial principles:The Union’s revenue and expenditure shall be in balance; principles of sound financial management shall be respected; the implementation of expenditure shall require the prior adoption of a binding legal act; fraud and any other illegal activities affecting the Union’s financial interests will be countered.
  • Article 40 – The Union’s budgetary procedure:The draft Article states that the European Parliament and the Council shall, on a proposal from the Commission, jointly adopt the Union’s annual budget. This budget shall be established in compliance with the multiannual financial perspective. The wording of this article removes the distinction between compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure, which would introduce complete co-decision of the European Parliament.

A study group, chaired by Presidium member and Danish Government representative Henning Christopherson, is to be created to address all the open issues in this area.

 

The Presidium and many members of the Convention would like Article 40 to simplify the annual budgetary procedure and include the financial perspective in the Constitutional Treaty. However, there is no consensus on that and the current proposal reflects the lowest common denominator of the opinions expressed by Convention members.

 

The European Convention is meeting on 17 and 18 March to discuss:

  • the EU's finances,
  • freedom, security and justice,
  • draft Articles 24-33,
  • draft Protocol on subsidiarity and proportionality,
  • draft Protocol on role of national parliaments.

 

The next meeting of the Convention is on 26 March.

 

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