EP Budgets Committee rejects proposed cuts to research budget
At its meeting on 7 October 2014, the Budgets Committee of the European Parliament rejected the budget cuts proposed by the Council, and even added funds to the Commission's original proposal in key priority areas such as research, education and small and medium-sized enterprises.
"Priority programmes to stimulate growth, enhance competitiveness and foster job creation were backed by the European Council itself. Yet EU member states have failed to back up their commitment with sufficient funding. The EU budget is an investment tool which can provide life-saving resources to small firms, NGOs, and local authorities", said Eider Gardiazábal Rubial (S&D, ES), who is in charge of steering the bulk of the budget through Parliament.
The Budgets Committee thus reversed all the cuts made by the Council of Ministers in the 2015 budget as proposed by the European Commission, but also recommended, amongst other things, adding €190.5 million more for small and medium-sized enterprises, research, and education, including €24 million more for the Erasmus+ programme. Part of this amount will be used to develop the EU's broadband and energy networks.
The committee also reversed Council cuts in funding available for settling invoices, adding €4 billion to the Commission proposal so as to ensure that bills from closing programmes are paid and prevent any serious payment shortfalls. To avoid rolling over this year’s debt to 2015, the committee emphasized that additional payment needs for 2014 must be settled before next year’s budget can be agreed.
The European Parliament as a whole will vote its position on 22 October 2014. This will be followed by three weeks of conciliation talks with the Council, starting on 28 October 2014, with the aim of reaching a Council/Parliament deal in time for next year's budget to be voted by Parliament on 26 November 2014 and signed by its President.