The European Commission should try to find extra savings to bridge a budget shortfall this year rather than turn to member states for new cash, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told MPs yesterday (2 April), as quoted by the Dutch press.
Last week, the Commission requested the “amending budget” for 2013, a routine procedure, due to a backlog of payments created at the end of every budget year.
An extra €9 billion is needed for refunding payments made on cohesion – or development projects in the EU's poorer regions. Another €2.2 billion is earmarked "to cover needs in practically all other areas of the budget, with the exception of administration, where no additional requests have been made," the Commission said in a statement.
The UK called the Commission request for an extra €11.2 billion for the 2013 budget "totally unacceptable".
It is not the first time that the UK has objected to an amending budget. The draft financial plan can be adopted if a qualified majority of member states supports it – meaning that the UK can be outvoted.
But Dijsselbloem, who is also the Eurogroup President, indicated that his country was joining forces with the UK.
"The Commission has done nothing to try and find room within the [existing] budget," he said.
Dijsselbloem added that he would work with other like-minded member states to try to find 'an acceptable solution'.