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Disputes over EU's budget in the beginning of the Council

Published on , , Brussels

The issue of EU's budget for next year had totally dominated the beginning of the European Council on Thursday, as it became clear during the press briefing of European Parliament's President Jerzy Buzek. As he threatened earlier, David Cameron raised the issue about the planned increase of the budget for 2011 by 6%, which he said was unacceptable in a moment when member states were struggling with tough budgetary cuts.

The President of the European Parliament explained that he had defended Parliament's position to support the increase, due because of the changes of priorities and the need of redirection of spending towards areas like energy, environment, science and research, skills and education. "Member states seem to follow the logic of keeping their coffers closed due to fiscal constraints, but at the same time refusing the EU to levy its own resources", Buzek said before EU leaders.

However he explained that the discussion on Budget 2011 was yet to start - it was officially launched on Thursday and will take three weeks a compromise to be reached with the Council and the Commission. More important is that Parliament insists the discussion on specific numbers of the budget to be bound with the launch of the debate on the next financial perspectives. Asked whom EU leaders had supported - himself or David Cameron, Parliament's President said that those who spoke backed Cameron, but in general positions varied.

On the issue of Lisbon Treaty changes, related to economic governance and proposed by France and Germany, Buzek said that currently he had no position because there was no thorough discussion on the topic. It will not be easy to change the Treaty, but it will not be impossible, Buzek added. It is important for Parliament to take part in the discussions and in all possible decisions for Treaty amendments, he concluded.

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