MEPs are discussing the next EU budget today
MEPs sitting in the Belgian capital listed halting the rise of politicians like Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders as one of the top challenges facing the bloc in 2018.
And they could not resist taking a pop at Britain as they put forward their proposals for the EU’s spending priorities, accusing successive UK Governments of holding them back.
Representatives on the EU’s budget committee are meeting at the European Parliament this afternoon as the legislative process for passing the 2018 budget gets underway.
Romanian MEP Siegfried Mureşan, who is leading the negotiations for the parliament, presented a draft report laying out where it would like to see European taxpayers’ cash spent.
In his proposal he said that the committee “welcomes the important role played by the EU budget in delivering concrete answers to the challenges the EU is facing”.
He said it “stresses that jobs, economic growth, migration, security and tackling populism are the main concerns at EU level and that the EU budget remains part of the solution to these issues”.
But in a nod to growing concerns about globalisation a passage was inserted warning Brussels that “obtaining sustainable progress…will not be possible should EU citizens feel unsafe or insecure”.
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And the committee could not resist having a pop at Britain over its decision to leave the club, suggesting that the budget will be increased significantly once Brexit is complete.
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They noted that “the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU will provide an opportunity to address the long-standing issues which have prevented the EU budget from reaching its real potential, especially as regards the revenue side of the budget”.
The proposed budget, which it is believed will amount to around 150 billion euros (£130bn), has a number of hoops to jump through before it is passed into law.
It has to be agreed by the full European Parliament and the EU Council, which is made up of the 28 heads of Government of the member states each of which wields a veto.