EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about a 2011 budget proposal was published by EurActiv on 23rd November 2010.

The European Commission will today (23 November) discuss a new proposal by Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski aimed at breaking the deadlock over the EU’s 2011 budget, which was rejected two weeks ago. EurActiv got hold of the draft text.

The 27-strong College of Commissioners will discuss Lewandowski’s proposal today (23 November).

The draft proposal, seen by EurActiv, closely mirrors the text which was nearly agreed upon on 15 November, when the European Parliament and EU member states failed to reach agreement on the 2011 budget (see ‘Background’).

The new proposal is designed aims to “maximise the chances for Council and Parliament to reach an early agreement,” reads the draft, which complies with UK demands to cap any EU budget increase at 2.91%.

But it also includes a series of declarations over sensitive political matters such new “own resources” for the EU budget, which the Parliament wants to see addressed in the negotiations against the will of member states.

“It is still a work in progress,” said Patrizio Fiorilli, spokesperson for EU Budget Commissioner Lewandowski, underlining that the document on the table remains subject to changes.

Flexibility

In its revised proposal, Lewandowski reaffirms the “qualified majority voting” system for tapping into so-called “flexible” EU funds, up to a maximum of 0.03% of Gross National Income (GNI).

The issue led to the collapse of negotiations earlier this month, with some member states pushing for a unanimity voting system on using these funds.

In order to reconcile positions, the Commission intends to introduce a “new condition of strict neutrality” in the use of flexible funds. This means that “the 2007-2013 global amount of the Multiannual Financial Framework ceilings shall not be increased, both in commitments and in payments, and a requirement of some redeployment,” reads the draft text.

With no agreement on the budget, the EU’s contribution to the funding of ITER, an international project to build an experimental fusion reactor in France, could be put in jeopardy, says the draft document. This “could also represent a set-back in terms of the credibility of the Union vis-à-vis its international partners,” it warns.

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