Conservatives move to rein in EU spending
Posted, June 07, 2012 @ 10:00
Conservative MEPs have today tabled a key motion in the European Parliament to rein in the scale of European Union's spending between now and 2020.
The proposed resolution, put forward with the support of colleagues in the broader European Conservatives and Reformists group, calls for an effective seven-year freeze to the European Union budget.
It comes in advance of a crucial debate next week (June 13) in Strasbourg on the EU's long-term budget blueprint - the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2013-2020.
The Conservative resolution demands a real-terms seven-year budget freeze - and promotes a radical overhaul of funding to focus on schemes which promote smart growth through research and development, technological advance and key infrastructure projects.
The resolution highlights the severity of the current economic crisis and reminds the EU that its own spending cannot be exempt from the considerable efforts in individual member states to make savings.
It warns the EU's leaders that they will lose all support and confidence from Europe's citizens if they do not stop looking to spend more. Instead, it insists, they must start spending more efficiently.
Crucially, it warns the EU against plans to raise its own finances directly - instead of via member states - through "own-resources" taxation such as a European VAT or the much-vaunted Financial Transaction Tax.
As well as insisting on the retention of Britain's rebate, the Conservative resolution calls for the long-term budgeting process to be made more flexible to allow swifter response to changing economic circumstances.
Richards Ashworth, leader of Britain's Conservative MEPs and budget spokesman for the ECR group, said: "The key here is that in the current climate the EU needs to focus all its efforts and resources on measures to promote jobs and engender growth.
"That means foregoing costly vanity schemes and pet social projects, it means rolling back harmful legislation that hobbles enterprise - and most of all it means devoting our precious resources to the schemes where they have the greatest potential to power recovery. That means investment in science, the digital economy, communications, free trade and helping small business.
"Our MEPs are determined to bear down on waste and frivolous spending. We aim to make sure every penny of the EU budget goes toward making our people more prosperous through growth - instead of merely poorer through taxation.
"Now Britain's Labour and Lib-Dem MEPs need to tell voters exactly where they stand. Will they defend Britain's rebate or will they give it up? Will they oppose own-resource taxes such as the FTT or not? Do they want the EU budget to continue going up and up, or do they want it properly controlled?"