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MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) - 14/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The European Parliament and the EU Council, which represents the 27 EU governments, Tuesday accused each other of responsibility for the collapse of the 2013 budget talks that were to take place tonight.

Andreas Mavroyiannis, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of Cyprus which holds the current EU Presidency told a press conference that the "Council had to take note of the impossibility to reach an agreement with the European Parliament for 2013 budget".

He said the budget talks were "held" hostage and accused the Parliament of "lack of flexibility".

"We are disappointed," he added.

Earlier, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said the parliament negotiators will not attend the meeting with Council on the budget 2013 talks Tuesday night, because there is no agreement among the EU member states about a supplementary budget for the current year.

Alain Lamassoure, who heads the European Parliament's budget committee, in a separate statement said the Parliament is ready to negotiate the budget that Europe needs for 2013 but we want to deal first with the backlog of 2012.

"Because the 2012 budget was too low, we still need now nine billion Euros to pay the bills," he noted.

Since October, important European programmes such as the education exchange programme Erasmus do not have any money and that a certain number of countries which need Europe's help, such as Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal or Ireland will not have enough credit for the end of 2012.

Hannes Swoboda, President of the Socialist Group in the EP, condemned the Council for the failure of the talks.

"The collapse of the negotiations on the EU budget due to the intransigence of the Council sends a very negative signal. If they can't agree to pay the bills, what can they agree to? Their behaviour puts the credibility of the EU at stake, not only at home but on the world stage," he said.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe said it was appalled by the behaviour of the Council.

"There is something very irrational in the Council's refusal to honor payments in 2012, and to obstinately stick to the same approach on the 2013 budget," said the Liberals group.

The EU member states are pushing for a budget of 132.7 billion euros or an increase of 2.8 percent because of the austerity programmes they have to implement in their home countries.

However, the EU Parliament wants a budget of 137.9 billion euros or a rise of 6.8 percent.

If there is no agreement between the two sides within 21 days, the European Commission will present a new draft budget. This would need to be approved by the Parliament and Council before the end of this year.

 






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