19/03/2013 Jean has issued the following brief statement on the vote in the European Parliament last week on the EU long-term budget:
I welcome the European Parliament’s rejection of cuts to the EU budget last week – the decision to reject the plans will mean social and environmental projects can continue.
MEPs had been asked to approve government plans for a €34bn reduction in the so-called ‘Multi-annual Financial Framework’ (MFF) – the EU’s long-term budget. The MFF is currently being negotiated alongside the EU budget for the 2013-14 financial year.
Had the proposals been adopted it would mean less many for social and employment-boosting projects across Europe, as well as fewer projects to protect the environment, and, crucially, a reduction in development work in poorer countries outside the EU.
A ‘yes’ vote by MEPs would also see an end to parliament’s effective involvement in future negotiations about the level of the budget – and the way it was spent.
Cuts to the EU budget are just cuts.
It’s vital projects to tackle poverty, boost employment, protect human rights and enhance our fragile environment that would suffer from a reduced income at EU level – the subsidies paid out to rich landowners under the Common Agriculture Policy, for example, would remain untouched.
As I have argued elsewhere, austerity measures and spending cuts by governments are hitting the most vulnerable: women, older people, young people, the disabled, hardest – and in this context we need more, not less, money to be spent at EU level on programs to alleviate this reality.
Now MEPs have rejected ministers’ proposals on the budget, we must all get back around the drawing board and find a budget we can all agree on in the best interests of the EU – and its 450,000,000-odd citizens.