In the dispute over the billions of euros in the EU budget for the year 2019, the mediation talks have finally broken. Negotiators from the EU member states and the European Parliament were unable to agree on the budget in due time. Now EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger has to submit a new draft. This is expected in late November or early December.
If there is still no compromise by 1 January, the EU will have to work with emergency budgets for the time being. One month would then be one-twelfth of the budget of the previous year. Above all, this hampers the planning of longer-term projects.
According to diplomats, the biggest issue in the negotiations was how to finance spending increases. The representatives of the European Parliament wanted to use a new instrument to redirect unused funds from the past. The EU states rejected this, however, because they fear that this is then always required. That’s why they preferred to finance the funds differently.
EU diplomats were upset over the course of the talks. „The representatives of the European Parliament again broke off the budget negotiations today, although a majority in the Council was ready to go a long way towards the European Parliament,“ it said. The Council of Member States has agreed to a significant increase in spending and has made every effort to find a solution acceptable to all. All the more regrettable is that the European Parliament is obviously not interested in a compromise solution.
Representatives of the European Parliament rejected the allegations. They emphasized that they had already received enormous support from the Member States in the negotiations for financing the second three billion euro package for Syria refugees in Turkey. In return, it was only expected that a budget instrument would be used, which was in the rules, it said. The Member States would have made a political question of principle for no reason.
European Parliament Budget Committee Chairman Jean Arthuis said both sides had made „commendable efforts“ to reach an agreement. The „dialogue“ will continue in the coming weeks to achieve the „best possible budget“. This must meet the expectations of EU citizens, including in the field of research „to prepare the future“. The Italian MEP and budget rapporteur Daniele Viotti emphasized that there is now only a „technical break“. On the basis of a new budget proposal from the European Commission, a „better agreement“ could then be reached.
The European Commission had proposed a budget with a volume of just under 165.6 billion euros. That would be three percent more than before. The EU governments called for the start of the negotiations 1.5 billion euros less, the Parliament about 770 million euros more.
For Germany, budget negotiations are of particular importance. As the largest net contributor to the Union, the Federal Republic contributes about 20 percent to the EU budget. The biggest chunks in the budget are payments to farmers and comparatively poor regions in EU countries. In addition, the EU finances, for example, research projects and projects to combat youth unemployment.