Lidstaten: beperk budgetbevoegdheden Europees Parlement (en)

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A strong bastion of member states have once again spoken out against the European Parliament having the final say over the EU budget.

At a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday (8 December), the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and France, all spoke out against MEPs holding sway over the EU's 100bn euro budget.

Only Greece, Luxembourg, Belgium and the European Commission sided with the two representatives of the European Parliament, Klaus Hänsch and Elmar Brok.

The MEPs argued that while member states have the final say on own resources (direct tax), there is a balance between member states and Parliament on setting the multi-annual financial framework and that the EU budget should be where the Parliament reigns.

But the powers contained in the new draft goes too far for member states as it would give the European Parliament power over the whole of the budget.

At the moment, MEPs have control over so-called 'non-compulsory expenditure' but cannot touch 'compulsory expenditure' which includes money for policy areas such as CAP.

Jack Straw, the UK Foreign Secretary, said afterwards in a press conference that the "paradigm of national parliaments" cannot be used for this issue.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was pragmatic about the sensitive subject, which MEPs have indicated is their "red line" issue.

"What happens here will determine how Parliament votes on the whole treaty", he said echoing the views of several euro-parliamentarians in a debate last week.

The Italian Presidency will on Tuesday (9 December) present a proposal on this and other issues.

However, the feeling was that the Parliament's powers over the whole budget will be removed from the Constitution's text.

"I think the Parliament is in real trouble over this one", commented an EU diplomat.

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