Saturday, November 13, 2010

Running to the wire

Negotiations on the budget between the EU parliament and the Council in the conciliation committee are running to the wire - with both sides indulging in grandstanding.

The deadline is the end of business on Monday, this being the end of the 21-day period allowed under the amended Treaties for the committee to reach an agreement. However, that should not be taken as read – there is always the option of "stopping the clock", which is no problem for a collective that makes the rules up as it goes along.

Even then, if agreement is not reached, the EU reverts to last year's budget levels, with a month-by-month allocation, while the Commission submits a new budget proposal and the process starts all over again. But neither an agreement now nor later rules out votes for additional money through supplementary budgets.

As with anything to do with the EU, therefore, it ain't over until it's over, and even then you have to count the silver to make sure it's all there.