Wednesday, March 06, 2013

EU politics: budget veto on the cards

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After the shenanigans on bankers' bonuses, it seems that the European Parliament is doomed to stay in the news for, according to Die Welt, MEPs are set to reject the reject the multi-annual budget agreement next week, at their plenary session in Strasbourg.

This, the paper claims as an "exclusive" and that it may be, although the Irish Independent was forecasting problems last week.

Nevertheless, we have heard very little recently about the budget from the British media, even if EP rejection was always on the cards, kicking another of Mr Cameron's great victories into touch.

Parliament president Martin Schulz, we are told by Welt, has had initial exploratory talks with the Irish EU Presidency and the European Commission and has demanded that the Council should agree to a "package of demands". This includes a "mandatory mid-term revision of the budgetary framework" by the Parliament and the EU Commission. There will be an insistence on a "legally binding resubmission" to be enshrined in the Finance Act.

Herbert Reul, Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the European Parliament is also demanding more flexibility in reallocating individual budget items. He wants surpluses to "be transferred automatically into the next financial year".

Another demand is for the reallocation of funds within the budget, and the Parliament thus demands "comprehensive negotiations" with the Council. Negotiations could include aspects that were not part of the Council decision.

The test of whether the EU leaders are ready to return to the negotiating table will come the by the end of the week following the plenary session in Strasbourg, when they meet in Brussels for European Council meeting.

This could be a testing time for the "colleagues" as it was difficult enough for them to reach an agreement in the first place. As for Mr Cameron, the very last thing he needs is for his budget "triumph" to unravel.