Van Bommel gives 'bridging budget' two cheers

17 December 2005

Van Bommel gives 'bridging budget' two cheers

In the SP's opinion the results of the negotiations over the EU budget are unimpressive but acceptable. SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel said “This is not the forward-looking budget which we needed to see come out of these talks. It is disappointing that a number of urgent issues have been left for the future. But as a bridging budget it just about passes muster.”

One positive is that the Netherlands has stuck to its guns as far as our own contribution goes. As Mr Van Bommel says “The Netherlands will no longer be the milch-cow of Europe, because the contribution following this agreement offers both a fair balance and a reasonable solidarity.”

The most important questions have, however, not been resolved, and no hard and fast agreements have been fixed which would mean that they will be resolved in 2008. The British rebate has not been ended, the practise of pumping money around between rich member states continues and an unjust agricultural policy will continue.

Another point against the agreement is that the total EU budget will increase, rather than the 1% reduction which the Netherlands had given as a target. “It is good that in 2008 spending in its entirety can again be reviewed, and of course we will have to wait to see what this revision will deliver. If agreement can then be reached on the outstanding sections, this would be an acceptable stopgap,” concluded Van Bommel.

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