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Conservatives call for EU budget “freeze”

Friday, 25th March 2011

The EU should agree to a “freeze” on its 2012 budget whilst making sure it obtains better value for money, says Roger Helmer, Conservative MEP for the East Midlands, after a debate was opened on the issue in the European Parliament.

Mr Helmer emphasised:

“This debate reflects the start of a long process in determining the decision to be taken for the budget of the European Union for the year 2012. With most European economies still in a very fragile state in the aftermath of the biggest financial upheaval for the last 70 years, we should be acutely aware of the real difficulties of European citizens in many Member States who are battling to survive and keep their jobs.’

“In this light, I welcome the identifying of priorities for savings by the institutions with urgency to ask the specialised committees to seriously embark on the process of determining clear political priorities in all policy fields. However, I regret that no real effort is currently being taken, as far as I am aware, to identify where these savings will come from.”

He said that if there was a need for increased funds on certain lines in the budget, particularly the Europe 2020 strategy, then these should be based on the priority of principles of good management for economy, efficiency and effectiveness in order to allow cost-cutting in some areas to finance any additional expenditure. The EU 2020 strategy has special emphasis on employment, innovation, research and development, climate change and energy, education and social inclusion.

He concluded:

“We believe that the best course for the EU to take is to have a freeze on its expenditure while making sure we get better value for money.”