EU Commission proposes 6.8% budget hike
Brussels, Belgium (AHN) – The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a 6.8 percent budget increase for next year that it said had the goal of boosting growth across the region.
However, the budget will likely be unpopular with many member states. France, Germany and the United Kingdom have already said they object to such a large increase in the budget. They point out that it comes at a time when many cash-strapped governments across Europe are instituting huge budget cuts.
Nevertheless, EU officials say the increase is necessary so the commission can pay some large bills that come due in 2013. Officials say the commission is legally obligated to pay the bills and has no choice.
It pointed out that the payments that are coming due next year are from voted commitments made in the past. The commission said it would not increase staff.
Some 5.6 percent of the proposed $182 billion budget will go for administrative costs of EU institutions.
Budget discussions are expected to drag on for months, but the commission, European Parliament and 27 member states only have until December to reach a compromise agreement on the 2013 budget.