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'A great day for Europe': MEPs approve EU's budget for the next seven years

The agreement brings to near conclusion a lengthy process of getting 28 member states to agree on its spending priorities for the coming years.

"This is a great day for Europe," Jose Manuel Barroso said today
Image: JOHN MCCONNICO/AP/Press Association Images

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has approved the EU’s nearly one trillion euro budget for the next seven years.

The budget was approved by a large majority of 682 MEPs and will mark the first-ever trimmed-back, long-term budget for EU institutions to spend from the period 2014 to 2020.

While conservatives and the socialists united to pass the measure, the Greens and the radical left voted against.

“This is a great day for Europe,” European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said today.

“The European Parliament has given its final blessing to the European budget from 2014 until 2020, thus bringing successfully an end to long negotiations. Now, the Council can seal the deal shortly.”

Known as the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), the budget provides for €908 billion in payments against €960 billion in funding commitments which is 3.7 per cent and 3.5 per cent less than in the previous 2007-2013 budget.

The budget is geared towards the EU’s overarching priorities to create sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness.

Today’s vote marks the end of a battle that has gone back and forth between the European Commission, member states and MEPs in recent months.

Ireland’s presidency of the EU in the first half of this year saw significant progress, with an agreement reached by the parliament in July, but there have been further hurdles to clear in recent months.

While austerity-minded governments in countries like Britain, as well as the Commission, wanted to cut back on EU spending, MEPs from peripheral EU countries wanted more funding to boost jobs and growth.

The last step for the seven-year blueprint will be formal approval in the coming days by the European Council of member states.

Read: EU Budget for 2014 agreed after marathon overnight talks

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

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

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Hugh O'Connell

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