21 OCT 2010
By Andrew Willis
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - MEPs have voted by a vast majority to increase next year's EU budget by 5.9 percent, a move they define as "responsible" despite government spending cuts in member states.
The increase on the 2010 budget is marginally lower than the one initially proposed by the European Commission earlier this year, but substantially higher than the 2.9 percent supported by a majority of member states.
"The European Parliament has acted with a great sense of responsibility," said European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek on Wednesday (20 October) after the legislature refrained from pushing the commission's figure upwards, as is usually the case.
The 2011 EU budget proposed by MEPs would include €142.65 billion in commitments and €130.14 billion in payments. The negotiations are the first to take place under the new Lisbon Treaty format, handing parliament a greater say and allowing for only one reading.
From 27 October, member state and parliament negotiators will have three weeks to agree a joint text, with the issue set to feature prominently on the agenda of an EU leaders' summit in Brussels next week (28-29 October). Failure to do so would result in the continuation of the 2010 budget and likely disruption.
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