EU parliament set to reject 2014-20 budget deal, president says
A hard-fought deal on the European Union's next seven-year budget will be rejected by the European Parliament when it comes up for a vote next month, its president predicted Thursday, DPA reported.
"It is most likely that an overwhelming majority of members of the parliament will say no to the MFF as it is for the time being," Martin Schulz said during a visit to Dublin, using the acronym for the budget's official name, the multi-annual financial framework.
"We will not say no to an MFF. But to the proposal now on the table, the European Parliament can't agree," he added.
EU leaders had produced the 960-billion-euro (1.3-trillion-dollar) agreement after marathon discussions three weeks ago. It features the first ever real-term cut to a multi-annual budget, given the economic pressures the bloc's 27 member states are facing.
The European Parliament now for the first time has to sign off on the expenditures.
Ireland will negotiate with the legislature on behalf of EU countries. It hopes to achieve a deal on the budget before its turn at the EU's rotating presidency ends on June 30.
But Schulz complained that none of the legislature's requests were taken into consideration, with the budget for instance not featuring any big reforms to areas such as agricultural or regional spending.
Schulz called it "the most unmodern proposal of the last years," noting that it would ensure that by 2020, the bloc would have the same level of spending commitments as in 2005.
The parliament president also raised the spectre of yet another hurdle, saying that the legislature would want to see a deficit "of around 16-17 billion euros" in the EU's 2013 budget addressed before it would even open negotiations on the 2014-20 framework.
Schulz nevertheless said that he hopes the talks will yield "a decent compromise."