In an end-of-year housekeeping operation on the EU's 2011 budget, Parliament's Budgets Committee on Monday approved the transfer of €714 million from 46 budget lines with surpluses to 57 budget lines that lack adequate funding. However, the Commission calculates that an extra €550 million will nonetheless be needed to meet social spending and research commitments for 2011.
Despite the Budgets Committee's "Global Transfer" operation, the European Commission says more money is needed to meet outstanding financial obligations for 2011.
If no solutions are found, funding for European Social Fund projects and research projects in the field of nanotechnology and information and communications technology development could be seriously delayed.
Extra €550 million needed to pay bills
The European Commission estimates the additional needs at €1,142 million until the end of this year. €592 million of this might be taken later from unspent funds from the rural development projects budget. The remainder (€550 million) should be added by the Member States, proposes the Commission.
These proposals are part of an amending budget - the sixth this year - that needs the agreement of Parliament and Council. It was discussed by the Budgets Committee on Monday.
2011 budget rapporteur Sidonia Jędrzejewska (EPP, PL) said that the Commission proposal would probably lead to an overall increase in payment appropriations for 2011 of more than 3.35%.
She reminded participants of her warning, in last year's budget negotiations, that the maximum increase in payments imposed by Member States - of 2.91% as compared to 2010, - would be insufficient:
"We now see that the EU is running out of payments for the European Social Fund and research-related policies. I am therefore willing to support this proposal to add €550 million", she said.
Yet Member States still have to contribute less than expected
The revised European Commission forecast on the revenue side shows an increase in revenues of €1.277 million, due to higher than expected GNI- and VAT revenues and a substantial increase of other revenues, like fines and interest on late payments (+ €662 million).
All in all - and despite the additional €550 million the Member States would have to add to the budget - their contributions for 2011 would decrease by €726.6 million.
The Member States have yet to state their position. The matter will be discussed with the Council and the Commission in the coming days and will be on the agenda for the budgetary Trilogue meeting on Monday 14 November.
In the chair : Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR)