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Volume 705: debated on Wednesday 19 November 2008

My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ian Pearson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I will attend the budget ECOFIN to be held on 21 November in Brussels. Items on the agenda are as follows:

Preliminary Draft Amending Budgets Nos. 10 and 11 for 2008

Finance Ministers will be invited to adopt preliminary draft amending budgets 10 and 11. These would amend the 2008 budget to reflect latest implementation capacity and mobilise the EU solidarity fund for Cyprus following the recent drought there.

Letters of Amendment Nos. 2 and 3 to the Preliminary Draft Budget for 2009

Finance Ministers will be invited to discuss the Commission's amending letters 2 and 3 to the preliminary draft budget for 2009. Amending letter 2 reflects latest information on agricultural prices and other developments influencing future implementation capacity, and proposes financing for a food facility for developing countries from the agriculture expenditure budget heading. Amending letter 3 concerns a budgetary transfer to cover the costs of a new reflection group as called for by the October European Council.

Draft Budget for 2009

The council will look to agree its second reading position on the draft budget in preparation for the subsequent conciliation with the European Parliament. Council will then conclude its second reading and finalise figures for compulsory expenditure (mainly agriculture). The UK will seek a budget that respects the principles of budget discipline and sound financial management and reflects realistic forecasts for agriculture and structural funds spending.