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EU budget must be cut too - Liz Lynne

October 20, 2010 5:47 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne

The European Union's budget should share the pain of spending cuts, says local Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne.

She accused Labour MEPs who today voted to increase the EU budget as 'living in cloud cuckoo land."

The European Parliament at Strasbourg voted on proposals for the EU budget for 2011 just as the Chancellor announced the Comprehensive Spending Review to reduce the UK budget by 6 per cent each year for four years.

Liz Lynne and her Lib Dem colleagues voted for a budget freeze and against proposals to increase spending.

By contrast, Labour MEPs voted against a freeze at 2010 levels and in favour of a £1.5 million increase for trade unions.

Liz Lynne said: "The Chancellor announced very deep and painful cuts in public spending in Britain, to rebalance the economy. Many other EU governments are making similar cuts.

"The EU budget process should start on the basis that we need to rein back spending here too.

"Liberal Democrat MEPs voted for a standstill budget and for many other amendments to reduce individual budget lines and also voted against the budget statement as a whole.

"We want the Parliament to set an example and cut its internal budget.

"I was very disappointed to see Labour MEPs vote against a freeze at 2010 levels.

"Labour also supported more EU funding for trade unions, more money for the EU earth observation programme and more money for information centres on EU citizenship.

"Just as at Westminster, Labour seems to be living in cloud cuckoo land."

"We have all got to tighten our belts and live within our means."

ENDS

Note to Editors

Budget amendments can be found at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sed/reports.do

Relevant amendments are:

Freeze at 2010 levels - 12

Trade unions - 700, 701, 706, Information Centres - 978

GMEs - 694, European Parliament pensions - 14 first part

The Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MAFF) is a bit like the EU's Comprehensive Spending Review: setting maximum annual ceilings on the EU budget and under each policy heading over several years. The current MAFF runs from 2007-13.

The European Parliament now has budgetary oversight over the whole budget (including the Common Agricultural Policy or CAP). The post-2013 MAFF covers EU funding through direct taxation as opposed to national budget contributions, how to fund the new responsibilities under Lisbon at a time of fiscal austerity, reform of the Common Agriculture Policy and rebates for member states.

The Commission will shortly publish its mid-term review on the functioning of the MAFF. Member States will agree initial position in December with formal negotiations beginning in 2011 once the proposals for the next MAFF are published in Spring.