SP: European Parliament still throwing money around

5 July 2012

SP: European Parliament still throwing money around

The European Parliament yesterday approved by a large majority the mandate for the negotiations between the member states and the European Commission on the 2013 EU budget. While, on instructions from Brussels, almost all member states have adopted draconian austerity policies, the European Parliament is maintaining its resolve to add 6.8% to the total sum.

Dennis de Jong, Member of the European Parliament for the SP, says: 'They must be blind to want to carry on throwing money about at the European level, when you consider how ordinary people throughout Europe have been made the victims of cold-hearted spending cuts. I especially don’t any longer understand anything at all of the VVD’s position, where at national level their Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants to run everything into the ground, while all three of the centre-right party’s MEPs voted for this enormous increase. It’s not only Rutte who is two-faced when it comes to Europe; clearly this appears to his entire party.’

In the last year the SP has made a number of suggestions for ways in which the EU budget for 2013 could be reduced. 'Cut the number of EU agencies, put a stop to the unnecessary pumping of money back and forth between the member states and Brussels, and end the monthly decamping to Strasbourg, which wastes millions of euros’ are three of De Jong’s proposals. In addition, he wants to see improvements in monitoring of EU expenditure. ‘We know that millions of euros disappear in misdirected subsidies,’ he says. ‘Calling a halt to the pumping of money to Brussels and back would make monitoring rather easier, while, aside from the funds to promote innovation and research, only the poorest member states should be able to access subsidies. Money which is incorrectly spent should simply have to be repaid.'

The coming months will see negotiations not only on the 2013 budget, but the multi-annual budget. The fact that the European Parliament is inclined to be so generous does not augur well for this process, in De Jong’s view. 'I was recently a member of the EP’s temporary committee which wrote a preparatory document for these budget talks,’ he says. ‘Then too you could see that every interest group wanted to maintain the existing pots of money: so any real reform of the Common Agricultural Policy or rationalisation of the countless other European funds was not up for discussion. Too many of my colleagues succumb to pressure from lobbyists. For me that is irresponsible at a time when the EU is forcing the member states to implement draconian spending cuts.’

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