The Council is ready to work with both the European Parliament and the Commission during the next few weeks and months in order to secure agreement on a realistic and balanced EU budget for 2013, Deputy Minister for European Affairs Andreas Mavroyiannis said today.
Mavroyiannis was speaking during the plenary session of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, while presenting on behalf of the Cyprus EU Presidency the Council’s position on the draft budget of the EU for the financial year 2013.
The Cypriot Deputy Minister expressed his confidence that the goal can be achieved "if we cooperate closely".
Explaining the Council’s position, he said the draft budget foresees an increase of 1.27% in commitment appropriations and 2.79% in payment appropriations, compared with the 2012 budget.
Describing the three important points which underpin the Council’s position, Mavroyiannis said the Council decided to give priority to the programmes and actions of the EU budget that will help resolve the current economic crisis, support competitiveness and convergence, create employment opportunities and boost economic growth;
He added that in 2013, the last year of the current multiannual financial framework, the Council proposed an increase in the level of payment appropriations significantly above inflation.
Moreover, he noted that the Council took into account the measures taken by Member States to consolidate their national budgets, adding that in the current economic context, particular emphasis was placed on keeping administrative expenditure under control.
Elaborating on the budget’s headings, the Deputy Minister noted that "Sustainable Growth" should be one of the top priorities in 2013, according to the Council.
He went on by saying that a substantial increase was proposed, in both commitment appropriations by 2.79% and payment appropriations by 6.71%.
Moreover, he said that the Council has also sought to secure adequate payment appropriations for structural actions, allocating for "Cohesion for growth and employment" an increase by more than +8%, compared to 2012.
On the "Preservation and management of natural resources", he said the Council proposes to stabilise the level of commitment appropriations, compared to 2012.
Regarding "Citizenship, freedom, security and justice" he said the Council supports modest reductions to both commitment and payment appropriations, while proposing at the same time a substantial increase, by 5% in payment appropriations under the sub-heading for "Freedom, security and justice".
Regarding "The EU as a global player," Mavroyiannis said the Council set commitment and payment appropriations at a lower level than that proposed by the Commission, while with respect to "Administration" it did not modify the European Parliament’s section of the budget.
The Cypriot Deputy Minister noted however that the Commission and other institutions may limit further the increase in their respective budget estimates, close to their 2012 levels.
"I am convinced that the Council’s position on the 2013 draft budget strikes the right balance between recognising the difficult economic situation in Member States and providing sufficient appropriations in the EU budget to support programmes and actions which are aimed at addressing the economic crisis" Mavroyiannis noted.
Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski expressed the difference of opinion that exists on the budget among EU institutions, adding that the budget should reflect the conclusions of the last European Council and prioritize growth and development.
MEPs Garriga Polledo, Giovanni La Via and Derek Vaughan also intervened during the disussion, expessing the EP position on the matter.
Speaking later to the Press, President of the EP’s Budget Committee Alaine Lamassoure said the goals that were set at the European Council, last June, were inconsistent with budget cuts.
Moreover, La Vie said that payment appropriations were essential for growth, noting that European Commission proposals on then matter had to be endorsed.
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