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Commission asks for additional €9 billion

By Toby Vogel  -  23.10.2012 / 16:27 CET
Amendment to 2012 budget to cover shortfalls in science and research, cohesion and other programmes
The European Commission has asked the member states to authorise an additional €9 billion in payments under the 2012 budget to cover shortfalls in various programmes.  

The biggest chunk of the requested funding – some €8.3bn – would go to cohesion and rural spending.  

“Not a single euro is for Brussels,” said Janusz Lewandowski, the European commissioner for financial programming and budget, after the college of commissioners backed his request in Strasbourg today (23 October).  

The Erasmus programme of student exchanges needs an additional €90 million to cover payment shortfalls, with the Commission saying that it will have to “substantially reduce” the number of places offered to students or cut their grants in future if the funding is not authorised.  

“The Council and the European Parliament must now take their responsibilities since they voted an EU budget below its needs,” Lewandowski said and called for the “swift approval” of this updated budget.  

Lewandowski acknowledged that the negotiations on the amending budget would be mixed up with negotiations on the 2013 budget. He predicted “big tensions” over both.  

The EU's member states informed the Parliament today that they disagreed with some of the Parliament's positions on the 2013 budget, launching a closely-scripted, three-week ‘conciliation period' during which negotiators will seek to bridge the gap between the two positions.  

In their note to the Parliament, the member states suggested that they view the size of today's request as unwarranted. “It is worth noting that the increase proposed today by the Commission by far exceeds the reduction in payments on which the European Parliament and the Council agreed for the 2012 EU budget which was limited to €3.58bn compared to the Commission's draft budget,” they wrote.
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