Despite the strenuous efforts of the Cyprus Presidency to find a consensus between the positions of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament (EP) concerning the 2013 EU Budget, today’s attempts did not reach the desired agreement. The stumbling block was the draft amending budget for 2012, for which the EP had set an agreement as a precondition for discussing the EU 2013 Budget. This marks the end of the 21-day conciliation procedure, which started on October 23. After today’s deadline of the conciliation procedure, the European Commission will have to submit a new proposal for the EU Budget of 2013. The Council adopted the draft amending budget no 5 for 2012, which provides for a financial assistance of EUR 670 million to be given to Italy by the EU Solidarity Fund, after the country was hit by a series of earthquakes earlier this year.
The 21-day conciliation procedure comes to an end today, without an agreement on the 2013 EU budget. Cyprus’ Deputy Minister for EU Affairs, Ambassador Andreas D. Mavroyiannis expressed his disappointment over the outcome of the discussions.
“I regret to note that despite the major efforts of the Presidency to reconcile positions, an agreement was not reached. I wish to stress that the Presidency has entered negotiations for the annual budget from the very beginning with the greatest sense of responsibility and has undertaken every effort to achieve concrete results; an outcome of these efforts was the Council’s common position that was reached on July 24,” Ambassador Mavroyiannis said.
The main reason for today’s outcome was the draft amending budget no 6 for 2012, with the European Commission’s proposal for an additional EUR 9 billion to the 2012 EU budget, proved to be the major stumbling block for an agreement.
“Unfortunately, the budget of 2013 was held as ‘a hostage’ in the negotiations of the draft amending budget No 6 for 2012,” the Cypriot Deputy Minister stated.
“During the whole conciliation period, the European Parliament did not wish to proceed in discussing the budget for 2013, in line with the mandate of this Conciliation Committee given to it on October 23, which was to find an agreement on the 2013 Budget. The European Parliament set an agreement on draft amending budget 6 for 2012 as a precondition. The Council was, and remains ready to discuss about all elements of the package and wished to address them simultaneously in order to find a balanced outcome which would meet the concerns of all parties and Member States concerned,” added the Ambassador Mavroyiannis.
From the Council’s point of view there is a strong link between the draft amending budget for 2012 and the 2013 EU budget, since both of them ensure the continuity of European measures and have to be financed from the same national budgets.
In the Cyprus Presidency’s assessment, divergent positions for budget 2013 were not that far apart and there were good chances of reconciling these positions.
"However, we regret that this opportunity has been missed due to the lack of flexibility by the European Parliament,” Ambassador Mavroyiannis said, concluding that “under such circumstances the Conciliation Committee was prevented from fulfilling the letter and spirit of the provisions of the Treaty”.
Financial aid to Italy agreed
The Council approved today the draft amending budget (DAB) no 5 for 2012 as proposed by the European Commission. The DAB no 5 will provide a financial assistance of EUR 670 million to Italy by the EU Solidarity Fund. Italy had been hit by a series of earthquakes earlier this year.
“This decision is a concrete manifestation of the Council’s solidarity with Italy, reflects the Council’s commitment to keep its promises and shows its goodwill towards the European Parliament,” declared Ambassador Mavroyiannis.
Given the failure of the Conciliation Committee to reach an agreement, the Commission will now have to adopt a new proposal for a new draft budget for 2013, as stipulated by the Lisbon Treaty.
The Deputy Minister stressed the Cyprus Presidency’s determination to work hard so as to progress work on the new proposal that will be adopted by the Commission. He stressed that “the Presidency will demonstrate equal zeal and determination and will continue to act as an honest broker until the end of its Presidency, working until its last day to initiate and progress work on the new proposal.”
However, if, at the beginning of 2013, the budget has not yet been adopted, then a sum equivalent to not more than one twelfth of the budget appropriations for the preceding financial year, that is 2012, may be spent each month. Excess expenditure can only be authorised through a Council decision, based on a Commission proposal and following the consent of the majority at the European Parliament.
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