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EU avoids its own shutdown after MEPs agree to fill €2.7bn funding shortfall

The emergency finance is needed because revenue from import duties fell below EU forecasts.

Jose Manuel Barroso
Jose Manuel Barroso
Image: JOHN MCCONNICO/AP/Press Association Images

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has, at he last minute, answered a call to fill a €2.7 billion funding gap which led the European Commission to pull the plug on new contracts.

MEPs from the Parliament’s budget committee gave their blessing to increased contributions from European Union member states to make up the shortfall, though the top-ups are likely to affect controversial future bloc budgets.

The emergency finance is needed because revenue from import duties fell below EU forecasts.

Lawmakers complained to EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski that Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso only informed the Parliament it was “on the brink of a shutdown”.

This prompted comparisons to the recent government shutdown in the US which only ended last week.

Lewandowski told the house that even with the additional €2.7 billion there would still be a shortage in overall 2013 figures.

EU treaties prevent bloc spending from exceeding prescribed limits.

MEPs are to vote today on next year’s EU budget, but discussions on a hugely contentious financial framework for the bloc from 2014 to 2020 have been put back.

A deal on what’s known as the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) appeared to have been struck towards the end of Ireland’s EU Presidency in June.

But it  still needs to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and a vote on this has already been delayed.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell

© AFP 2013

Read: How much did the government shutdown cost the US economy?

Previously: European Parliament approves epic €960 billion budget after months of squabbling

Previously: Deal reached on seven year, EU trillion-euro budget

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