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Parliament approves 2012/2013 budgets

The European Parliament voted today (12 December) to approve the budget package for 2012 and 2013, which has been under discussion for weeks.

The package includes an extra €6.1bn for 2012, a corrective budget for a shortfall this year. For 2013 the Parliament agreed an overall EU budget of €132.8bn. These figures are less than those requested by the European Commission, which were an extra €9bn for 2012 and €138bn for 2013.

Helga Trüpel, budget spokesperson for the Greens, condemned the decision, calling it “a mockery of commitments to use the EU budget to stimulate sustainable economic recovery”. She said: “The original budget proposal for 2013 was a sensible and modest calculation on what resources are needed for the EU to meet its obligations under existing EU programmes.”

Socialist MEP Eider Gardiazábal, a negotiator for the 2013 budget, added that the budget would only postpone a future budget crisis. “We can expect shortfalls to affect many European programmes, she said, adding that the move was “a very negative sign ahead of negotiations on the EU budget from 2014”.

But Socialist Group vice-president Göran Färm said: “The compromise was necessary. We have managed to avoid a budgetary crisis on top of the economic crisis.”

The shortfall for 2012 resulted from a budget that was insufficient to cover the EU’s commitments, according to the Commission. The programmes affected by the shortfall include the Erasmus student exchange programme, research programmes under Framework 7, and cohesion funding.

The Commission, Council, and Parliament have committed to cover the €3bn funding gap for 2012 through additional money in 2013, which would be separate from the 2013 budget.

As Research Europe Today went to press, other political groups had not yet issued responses to the vote.