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MEPs give green light to 2013 budget

The European Parliament budgets committee has endorsed the annual budget packages for 2012 and 2013 proposed by negotiators last week.

In an informal vote undertaken yesterday (4 December), MEPs from the budgets committee gave their support for the package with 29 votes in favour and 10 against. This indicates the package will pass the formal committee vote on 10 December, which will be followed by a Parliament vote in plenary on 12 December.

The draft package, which commits an additional €6 billion for the 2012 budget and around €133 billion of spending for 2013, was also endorsed by representatives of the Council of Ministers yesterday (RET, 4/12/12). The approval of both institutions is required before 31 December for the new budget to take effect from 2013, and prevent the start of provisional twelfths, where the budget is divided in 12 parts and allocated monthly.

The package is less than that requested by the Commission, which previously said that €9bn of extra funding would be needed to cover a shortfall in the 2012 budget, and proposed €138bn in payments for 2013.

MEP Giovanni La Via, who is rapporteur on the EU budget for 2013, said the committee’s approval represents an “important political signal”. He emphasized that successful implementation of an annual budget from the start of 2013 is needed to prevent significant disruption to programmes such as Framework 7 and the Erasmus student exchange.

However, Green MEP Helga Trüpel called the package a “bad deal for Europe and for sensible budgeting”. According to Trüpel, the €3bn-gap in payments for programmes in 2012 will need to be met from the 2013 budget, which means MEPs are “committing the EU to a continued cycle of under-budgeting and shortfalls”.