European Parliament president Martin Schulz says the parliament "wants to be taken seriously" in debates on the EU budget. , Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has rejected the seven-year draft EU budget agreed by EU leaders last month – demanding greater consultation in how the European Union’s budget is spent.
Members overwhelmingly backed a motion tabled by the five of the parliament’s six largest groups, which rejected the €960 billion budget “as it does not reflect the priorities and concerns expressed by Parliament”.
MEPs said the draft deal – which was brokered in part by the Irish presidency of the EU – had disregarded the European Parliament’s role in coming up with a Budget and that the deal “cannot be accepted without the fulfilment of certain essential proposals.”
The matter is now returned back to the European Council, consisting of the 27 heads of state and government, which meets in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
A revised budget is likely to be sent back to MEPs in June.
European Parliament president Martin Schulz described the rejection of the budget – in the first time that MEPs have had a say on how money is spent – as “an important day and an important step for democracy”.
“It is quite normal on a national frame that a government makes a proposal on a budget to the parliament, and the parliament makes a decision,” he said, adding that it was “often the case and normal that the parliament refuses the first proposal”.
“Parliament wants to be taken seriously,” he added.
There was now an opportunity for compromise, the German said, though warning of “hard and fast” negotiations between the likes of Britain and Germany.
“We don’t want to see the EU going in the direction of a deficit union – we want to talk about more flexibility,” he said.