Belgium, Barroso reject new EU budget proposal
14 December 2005, BRUSSELS — The Belgian government joined the European Commission's rejection of the British presidency's proposed EU long-term budget on Wednesday.
14 December 2005
BRUSSELS — The Belgian government joined the European Commission's rejection of the British presidency's proposed EU long-term budget on Wednesday.
In a bid to break the EU budget deadlock, the UK proposed on Wednesday a small increase in the size of the budget, but made no new cuts to the British rebate.
The new proposal offers slightly more money to the new member states and has something to offer most countries.
However, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso said the proposed budget was "wholly inadequate" and "simply not enough".
Britain proposed increasing the 2007-13 budget by a total of EUR 2.5 billion compared to its first proposal, issued a week ago, BBC reported.
However MEPs echoed Barroso's criticism and the Belgian government was quick to reject the proposal also.
"This appears much more like a lucky dip where several member states can pick out a present than a global and balanced accord," the spokesman for Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said.
The Belgian government stressed the British EU presidency did not do its homework, with spokesman Didier Seeuws claiming the latest proposal scarcely differed than the previous one.
"Only on several points is there a small improvement noticeable," he said.
Seeuws said it is significant that the British government does not want to further amend its current EUR 5 billion annual rebate and stressed the budgetary proposal remains as unfair as the previous one.
The latest British proposal left untouched the earlier proposal to cut the rebate by EUR 8 billion over seven years, increasing the UK's net contribution to the budget.
The EU is scheduled to debate the budget at a summit on Thursday and Friday.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news