EU budget conference to be held in October


A high-level conference on the EU’s 2014-2020 budget will be held in Brussels on 20-21 October. The announcement came after a bi-lateral meeting between European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on August 30, which was followed by a meeting of the two leaders with the Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament.

The European Commission tabled proposals for the new EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework, the main budgeting document for the 2014-2020 period in June. One of the most contentious suggestions refers to a change in the revenue system which would authorise the EU to levy new taxes directly. The intention in the current austerity environment is to reduce the direct contributions received from national governments, while increasing the finances collected directly by the Commission, currently accounting for 15% of the total.

This draft budget proposal, put forward before the summer market turmoil, has been criticised among others by Germany and the UK. Negotiations therefore are not expected to be easy, especially in view of the financial crisis. The document must be approved by the European Parliament and the Member States.

The important budget issues raised by the Commission are expected to be discussed during the October conference, which will be organised by the Polish EU Presidency and co-hosted by the Commission and the European Parliament. A final decision however is not expected before the second half of next year.