MEPs in Strasbourg today voted to increase the EU’s budget commitments including top ups to their already generous salaries.
The European Commission had proposed a huge budget for 2015 which MEPs whacked up to €146,348.9 million including an additional €400million more than was originally proposed by the Commission for the EU to fulfil its international responsibilities Syrian refugees, Ukraine and Palestine.
ˮWith only 1 percent of EU GNI, the EU budget can give a push to national budgets and encourage growth and employment. Our priorities are the same as those of the Council, but the Council does not want to finance themˮ said Ms Eider Gardiazábal (S&D, ES), the main rapporteur on the 2015 budget, during the debate.
Parliament as a whole reversed all the cuts made by member states in the Commission’s original proposal and requested extra funding to boost economic growth and job creation, as recommended by its Budgets Committee.
There was criticism from UKIP’s EFDD group who tabled 46 amendments to reduce the cost for the EU tax payer but saw every single one rejected.
These included proposals to cut MEPs’ salaries, office expenses and allowances, pensions and money to European Political Parties.
UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott who tabled the amendments was particularly damning of the British Labour MEPs who voted against the cuts.
“The Labour Party in particular have shown their true colours by voting down every attempt to save money from the European Union’s budget.
“In total almost a billion pounds would have been saved by the UKIP proposals. In total almost a billion pounds would have been saved by the UKIP proposals.”
“It wasn’t just our amendments that were voted down either. Other parties’ bids to scrap the House of History (a museum to the European Union) and the EU’s own television service went the same way.”
Labour MEP Clare Moody responded saying that her group wanted to see “real budget reform”.
“We want to see an end to wasteful agricultural subsidies, an end to vanity projects like the European House of History. The monthly trip to Strasbourg that John Major’s government signed us up to also needs to be abolished. It is important that added value is placed at the centre of EU budget decision making, we want to see areas that do not bring real benefits to our constituents cut.”
“We voted today for the EU to do more of what it is good at, working collectively to deliver real benefits and developments in technology, like the Composite Centre in Bristol in my constituency, where cutting edge research is delivering for industry.
“These are areas where we are more than the sum of our parts, where the EU makes a real difference and I’m proud that Labour MEPs have stood up for our constituents in these areas today.”
MEPs also voted for an end to subsidies on bullfighting but due to a technical way the votes are counted the payments will continue.