The European Commission will on Tuesday (23 October) ask the European Union's member states for several billion euros in extra contributions to make up for shortfalls in the EU's budget for 2012 that are threatening programmes in research, education, health and other areas.
“We are still in the process of calculating the overall amount, even though it already appears that we will need several billion euros for those programmes,” said Janusz Lewandowski, the European commissioner for financial programming and budget. He said that a dozen programmes in the areas of research, growth and employment, health, education, and humanitarian aid have been or will be left without money unless the member states provide additional funds.
Lewandowski said that the member states and the European Parliament last year left the Commission with no other option than to roll over some €5 billion in unpaid bills into this year's budget because insufficient funds had been provided in the 2011 budget, and that this is now exacerbating the situation.
He scolded national budget ministers for cutting draft budgets below the level of appropriations needed to cover previous promises. He said that they had “lost sight of the reality of the EU budget” – the “hundreds of thousands of students, researchers, towns and regions, NGOs, small and medium enterprises who rely on EU funds, for whom a cut in the EU budget means even more hardship in times of crisis”.
Lewandowski will brief MEPs on the Commission's request after it has been adopted by the college of commissioners in Strasbourg on Tuesday. Lewandowski's spokesman said that the Commission's department for budget was “still working on final figures”.