It has already been reported that David Cameron and other EU leaders’ call for the EU 2012 budget to be cut or at least to be frozen fell on deaf ears. The calls in the letter to the President of the European Commission, for “payment appropriations should increase, at most, by no more than inflation over the next financial perspectives” are set to have the same fate.
David Cameron has been calling for the EU budget to be cut or, at least, to be frozen. Last December, David Cameron, AngelaMerkel, Nicolas Sarkozy,Mari Kiviniemi and Mark Rutte wrote a letter to the President of the European Commission, Mr Barroso, saying “The action taken in 2011 to curb annual growth in European payment appropriations should…be stepped up progressively over the remaining years of this financial perspective and payment appropriations should increase, at most, by no more than inflation over the next financial perspectives.” However, the calls for an EU 2012 budget freeze fell on deaf ears. The European Commission has ignored the Member States pleas for a freeze or, at least, a limited increase, according to the inflation rate, in the 2012 EU budget.
The European Parliament is the discharge authority. Each year it must close the financial year on the basis of the recommendation of the Council and the Statement of Assurance (DAS) provided by the Court of Auditors. By granting a discharge Parliament approves the implementation of the budget in respect of the relevant financial year. It is well known that the European Court of Auditors for the 16th year in a row has not signed the EU accounts, nevertheless the European Parliament has been giving a discharge to the Commission for the execution of funds even if the Court of Auditors was not able to deliver a positive DAS. The European Parliament has been arguing that the rate of errors does not only depend on the Commission as member states co-manage 80% of the funds. MEPs have therefore urged the member states to cooperate more closely in checking on EU spending and recovering incorrectly spent funds.
The European Commission will present the 2012 EU’s Draft Budget in April. The Commission is expected to reflect in the budget the Member States economic and budgetary restraints. In the meantime, Janusz Lewandowski, Commissioner responsible for Financial Programming and Budget, has recently sent a letter to all EU institutions asking them to cut their administrative budgets in 2012, in line with Member States austerity policies, which include cuts in administrative expenditure. He said that they “cannot ignore the broader economic and budgetary context.”
It is well known that the European Court of Auditors for the 16th year in a row has not signed the EU accounts. Yesterday, the House of Commons debated the implementation of the 2009 EU budget. During the debate Bill Cash made the following interventions:
The 2011 budget is the first budget to be adopted under the Lisbon Treaty, which has conferred further powers on the European Parliament. The Conciliation Committee has not reached an agreement on these issues before the deadline - 15 November. Consequently, the Commission had to put forward a new draft budget for 2011. The European Commission adopted a new draft EU budget for 2011, with no time, on 26 November, as a last attempt to reach an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council as quicker as possible and, possibly, by the 17th December so that the EU has a budget on 1st January. If the EU 2011 budget was not approved before the end of the year spending would have to be frozen at 2010 levels. Obviously, Brussels does not want to work under the system of the "provisional twelfth."