Skip to main content

European Community Budget Council

Volume 986: debated on Friday 20 June 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on the meeting of the European Community Budget Council on 17 June.

The Budget Council met in Luxembourg on 17 June to consider the revised 1980 Community budget proposals presented by the Commission. In reaching its decision on these proposals, the Council took into account the views expressed by a delegation from the European Parliament.The Council discussed the question of provision in the 1980 budget for advance payments to the United Kingdom in respect of the supplementary measures which the Council agreed on 29–30 May should form part of the solution on the United Kingdom's budget problem. One member State emphasised that because of severe domestic budgetary constraints in 1980 it could not at this stage agree to substantive provision for advances in the 1980 budget. However, these difficulties would not affect the financing of the 1981 budget so that payments to the United Kingdom could be made early next year, that is within the United Kingdom's current financial year 1980–81.I made it clear that the United Kingdom attached great importance to an entry to cover the reference in the agreement to the right of the United Kingdom to ask for advance payments. I also mentioned that later in the year there might in any case be the possibility of transfers from elsewhere in the budget where provision might be underspent and the Council should look at this matter later in the year.I also obtained the Commission's confirmation that provision for the full amount estimated to be payable to the United Kingdom in respect of 1980 would be made in its 1981 preliminary draft budget proposals to the Council. The Council decided on the inclusion of a token entry to advances in the 1980 budget and recorded in its minutes that it had noted that, in agreeing on this token entry in the 1980 budget for supplementary measures in the United Kingdom, first, this did not prejudice arrangements for establishment of the 1981 budget, and, secondly, this did not prejudice the right of the United Kingdom to ask for advance payments in 1980 in accordance with the agreement of 29–30 May once the necessary regulation had been adopted.The European Parliament thought that this expenditure should be classified as non-obligatory. The Commission, however, explained that since the sums were fixed and the duration of the agreement was limited, it had no doubt that this expenditure should be classified as obligatory. The Council supported this view.For the budget as a whole, the Council decided on the form of a proposal to be put to the European Parliament. The proposal was that if the Parliament were prepared to adopt the budget in a single reading at its session on 26–27 June, the Council for its part would be prepared to see non-obligatory expenditure increased by a total of some 240 MEUA (about £146 million at current rates of exchange) compared with the draft budget agreed by the Council on 23 November last.The Council decided to support a declaration drafted by the Commission which it hoped would meet the Parliament's views on the future structuring of the budget with particular reference to agricultural expenditure.In deference to the Parliament's wishes it also agreed to improve the information relating to borrowing and lending in the Community budget.The Council also decided to inform the Parliament that it would be prepared to give the Parliament detailed information on the financial arrangements regarding the European development fund and to reconsider the question of the inclusion in future of the EDF in the Community budgetThe Council's proposals for the 1980 budget are now being considered by the European Parliament.