EP criticises budget cuts proposed by Council for 2016
The ECOFIN Council unanimously adopted the Council's proposal for the 2016 EU budget on 4 September 2015. The proposal was presented to the European Parliament (EP) plenary on 8 September 2015 in Strasbourg and was met with harsh criticism by MEPs, who called the proposal "unacceptable" and "inconsistent".
The Luxembourg Presidency claims that the Council "has sought to strike the right balance between national budgetary constraints and the EU's priority funding needs, in particular with regard to investment, entrepreneurship and employment", with the Council's position providing for EUR 153.3 billion in commitments and EUR 142.1 billion in payments. This means overall cuts of €563.6 million to funds for new projects and of €1.4 billion to funds for paying incoming bills in 2016. The proposed cuts also affect the Horizon 2020 budget, amongst others.
The EP regards the overall cuts proposed by the Council to the 2016 EU budget as "unacceptable, incomprehensible and inconsistent". MEP Gérard Deprez (ALDE, BE) emphasised the need for adequate funding, amongst others for agencies dealing with refugees, and added that "It is regrettable that the Council has also cut the EU research programme Horizon 2020 and the Connecting Europe Facility for energy, telecommunications and transport".
The Council's position constitutes the basis on which the Parliament will decide by the end of October whether it adopts amendments. In this case, the Council's position will serve as a mandate to the Luxembourg Presidency for subsequent negotiations with the Parliament with a view to achieving a common position.
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