Netherlands joins UK in opposing additional cash for EU budget

Jeroen Dijsselbloem March 2013.jpg

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".

>> Read: UK to fight additional cash for EU budget

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'. 

The EU's 2013 budget - separate from the multi-year budget - was agreed last December. It was set at €132.8 billion - a 2.4% increase on the 2012 budget.

But this amount is €5 billion below the Commission's draft proposal and €2.9 billion below the final level of payments in the 2012 budget, creating a very tight situation for payments from early 2013 and a shortfall in payment earlier than last year. This is largely due to the backlog of payments created at the end of 2012 and moved to the 2013 budget.

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