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Economic and Financial Affairs Council (11 November 2010)

Volume 518: debated on Wednesday 10 November 2010

I plan to represent the Government at the Budget ECOFIN to be held on 11 November in Brussels.

Budget ECOFIN will prepare a conciliation meeting with the European Parliament on the EU budget for 2011, and handle the outcome of that conciliation meeting.

The Government remain committed to opposing the increases of around 6% in the 2011 EU budget, above 2010 levels, proposed by the Commission and the European Parliament. These are simply unacceptable at a time when Governments across the European Union are taking difficult decisions to reduce national deficits and ensure the sustainability of their public finances.

The Government have called for a freeze in the 2011 EU budget at 2010 levels. We voted for this when the Council adopted its position on the budget earlier this year, which proposed a 2.9% increase over 2010 levels. Six other member states also voted against Council’s position. It was nevertheless adopted by a qualified majority.

Along with 12 other member states’ Governments, the Government have made it clear that they cannot accept any increase beyond 2.9% in the 2011 EU budget compared to the 2010 budget. Those are the terms of agreement that this Government will pursue at Budget ECOFIN on 11 November.