This video is called Nikolaos Chountis – “Today in Greece, the Troika is the real government.”
By Stefan Steinberg:
European Union budget talks deadlock
23 November 2012
Sharp conflicts emerged this week in discussions over the European Union’s (EU) budget. The negotiation of a new EU budget every seven years is regularly characterised by nationalist grandstanding, but this time tensions between European member states are particularly pronounced.
EU leaders began their summit meeting at 8pm Thursday in Brussels but failed to reach an agreement. Further talks are scheduled on Friday and, if necessary, over the weekend.
The run-up to the Thursday summit saw considerable wrangling between member states over the budget, which must be agreed unanimously. It was €127 billion (US$163.6 billion) for 2011, spent on farm subsidies (44 percent), development aid for poorer EU regions (33 percent), research (8.5 percent), and administrative costs (6 percent). Three-quarters of the funds were paid by European national governments, while the remainder come from sales tax and customs receipts.
The European Commission originally proposed a small increase in the EU budget for the period 2014 to 2020 to a total of just over €1 trillion. This proposal was then supported by the European Parliament and those 17 countries, mainly from southern and eastern Europe, which are net recipients of EU funds.
The European Commission proposal was opposed, however, by net contributors to the EU budget, centred on a core of northern European countries, notably Germany, the Netherlands and Finland. These countries argued against any increase in the EU budget and demanded it be limited to one percent of the EU’s economy, or €960 billion.
Opposition to both the European Commission proposal and the German stance came from the British Premier David Cameron. Cameron came to Brussels with a mandate from the British parliament to insist on budget cuts, after a core of deputies from Cameron’s Conservative party joined ranks with the opposition Labour Party to demand reductions in the EU budget.
The failure of European leaders in Brussels to finalise the European budget means that the threat of massive funding cuts to our countryside and wildlife still loom large, says the RSPB: here.
Moody’s downgrades French debt rating, presses for austerity in Europe: here.
IMF steps up pressure on Romanian government prior to election: here.
- EU Leaders in Budget Battle (blogs.voanews.com)
- EU budget summit: Cameron says leaders must stop tinkering and start cutting – live (guardian.co.uk)
- You: EU budget deal unlikely – Merkel (bbc.co.uk)
- Europe budget talks heading for collapse (thehindu.com)