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Spending plan expected to dominate Strasbourg talks

By Toby Vogel  -  15.11.2012 / 05:50 CET
MEPs to discuss EU budget.

Talks on the European Union's spending plan for 2014-20 will dominate next week's European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, which starts on Monday (19 November). The session will wrap up on Thursday (22 November), just hours before member states' leaders are scheduled to meet in Brussels for a special summit aimed at agreeing the multiannual financial framework for 2014-20. 

MEPs will discuss the MFF on Wednesday morning with Janusz Lewandowski, the European commissioner for financial programming and budget, José Manuel Barroso, the Commission's president, and Andreas Mavroyiannis, Cyprus's Europe minister. The plenary is expected to reiterate MEPs' long-standing backing of the Commission's proposal for €1,033 billion in payments. The member states, by contrast, are seeking to reduce the proposal by at least €100bn.

However, the main disagreement on the MFF is not between MEPs and member states but between member states that are net contributors to the EU's budget – including France, Germany and the UK – and member states that are net beneficiaries, such as Poland and Hungary (see page 4) The MEPs also want the next MFF to include a reform of the ways in which the EU generates budget revenue, the ‘own resources' system, including a tax on financial transactions.

Also on Wednesday, MEPs will approve €670 million in earthquake aid for Italy, following the endorsement of the budgets committee today (15 November). In failed talks last Friday (9 November), aid for Italy was the only element of the 2013 budget settlement and the Commission's top-up request for 2012 that was agreed between member states and MEPs.


The MEPs will on Tuesday provide their input to a report on genuine economic and monetary union that is being drafted by the presidents of the European Council, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the group of eurozone members. MEPs are seeking the power to scrutinise the work of EMU institutions such as the ECB, and want to ensure that there will be proper parliamentary oversight of issues affecting the eurozone only.

Later on Tuesday, they will discuss the ongoing negotiations between Parliament and the member states on the capital requirements directive (CRD IV). The talks are progressing slowly, with member states refusing even to discuss a Parliament demand to cap bankers' bonuses.

Vítor Caldeira, the president of the European Court of Auditors, will on Thursday present the Court's report on the EU's spending in 2011 to the plenary. Caldeira presented the report to MEPs on the budgets-control committee last week (6 November).

This year's winner of the Lux Prize for Cinema will be announced on Wednesday.

Meetings of agriculture, fisheries and education ministers that had been scheduled for next week had to be moved because of the budget summit. Agriculture and fisheries, originally scheduled for 19 and 20 November respectively, have been moved to 28 and 29 November. The education council originally scheduled for 22 and 23 November has been moved to 26 and 27 November. It is hoped the extra time will pave way for agreements on CFP and CAP reform, according to a Council source.

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