Nobody cares what we spend our money on

All we know that no decision was made last week in Brussels on how much money the EU should spend in the next programming period (MFF). Besides Van Rompuy’s detailed and complicated figures and plans, it is pretty evident that the debate is about the possibility to redistribute the European Budget among Member States.

If one takes a short look to the operating budgetary balance of the Member States, it becomes evident that Poland, Greece, Hungary, Spain and Portugal are the greatest recipients of the current system, while Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Netherlands are the biggest contributors in absolute terms.… Read the rest

No decision on MFF budget at first attempt

Van Rompuy’s second attempt (HvR-II) at preparing draft conclusions on the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for the European Council which failed to agree them at this week’s special European Council meeting can be summarised in two sentences: (a) within the overall budget, the reinstatement of much of the CAP spending cuts at the expense of all other budget headings (except Administration which stayed the same, though see below); and (b) separately, within Heading 1, a shift from competitiveness (Europe 2020) to cohesion spending.

The detailed figures are shown in the table below. The total budget (including extra-MFF spending) in HvR-II is maintained at exactly the same level as HvR-I but because emergency aid for humanitarian crises in developing countries is moved out of the MFF, the MFF total falls by just over €1 billion euro.… Read the rest

MFF baton passes to Van Rompuy: further cuts proposed compared to Commission proposal

The President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy has now tabled his proposal for expenditure and financing in the EU’s MFF for the 2014-2020 period for discussion. The document will be tabled at the next General Affairs Council scheduled for 20 November. It is then not clear if Van Rompuy will have time to rework the numbers before the 22-23 November European Council which will convene solely to discuss and, if things go according to plan, agree on the Council’s view on the new MFF.

The draft starts with the last version of the MFF negotiating box developed by the Cyprus Presidency but revises the numbers, again in a downward direction.… Read the rest

Cyprus Presidency issues second revised MFF negotiating box

The Cyprus Presidency yesterday circulated its second revision to the MFF negotiating box, this time inserting some figures for the individual MFF headings for the first time.

It is a cautious document in its attempts to balance the very different interests of the member states as they try to reach agreement on the MFF at the special November European Council meeting. Agricultural spending escapes lightly in the Presidency proposal which shows where budget reductions in the proposed 2014-2020 MFF might fall.

The preamble to the document states that it presents savings across all Headings of the MFF amounting to at least €50+ billion (this is in comparison to the Commission’s revised MFF proposal in July 2012).… Read the rest

Cyprus Presidency proposes CAP budget cut in next MFF

The first initiative in what member states hope might be the final push to get agreement on the next Multi-annnual Financial Framework by the end of this year under the Cyprus Presidency took place yesterday (30 August) when the Cypriots hosted an informal meeting of the General Affairs Council in Nicosia.

During July, the Cypriots held a series of bilateral meetings (‘confessionals’) with the 27 member states and Croatia. Based on these discussions an Issues Paper was prepared for the meeting. This paper reported briefly on the outcome of the bilateral consultations, presented the Presidency´s proposed orientations for reflection by the delegations, and included a brief reference to the next steps.… Read the rest

COMAGRI Chair calls for maintenance of CAP budget in real terms

Paolo De Castro, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI), is also the rapporteur for the COMAGRI opinion on the Commission’s proposal for a new MFF regulation. His draft report circulated last month is a trenchant call for additional money for farmers and greater flexibility in how it can be spent.

While the rapporteur’s draft has yet to be discussed by COMAGRI, it is likely to be approved as it builds on previous Parliament reports and resolutions. The COMAGRI opinion is a set of suggestions to the Budget Committee which has the ultimate responsibility for drafting the Parliament’s view on whether to consent to the Council’s (and, ultimately, the European Council’s) decision on the MFF ceilings in the 2014-2020 period.… Read the rest