PositionBrief Article

The Budgetary Committee and the Committee of Member States' Permanent Representatives to the EU have sought essentially to meet each of the annual spending ceilings set in the medium-term financial perspective for 2000-2006 and, in so far as possible, to leave sufficient latitude under the ceilings of the various headings, with the exception of heading 2 (structural actions) and heading 7 (pre-accession). In justifying the cut of more than Euro 1.3 billion in payment appropriations, the Council has taken account of implementation capacity, the probable rate of payments in the context of sums outstanding, and the constraints on national budgets. The forthcoming examination of a letter of amendment on farm spending and spending linked to Fisheries Agreements, to take account of updated forecasts of requirements, has also been taken into consideration.A qualified majority within the Budgetary Committee, whose opinion should be followed by the Council, backed a across-the-board reduction of Euro 275 million under heading 1 (agriculture) for the sub-heading on market expenditure in the light of the latest developments on agricultural markets. The Council should however agree to use of an Amending Budget if the credits included in the 2003 Budget prove insufficient to cover farm expenditure.Regarding spending under heading 2 (structural actions), the Council should on the one hand cut payment appropriations for the Structural Funds by Euro 525 million in view of significant under-implementation over recent years, and on then other, not to include at the present juncture the sum of Euro 27 million in commitment appropriations for the...

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