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2008 EU BUDGET : COBU SECOND READING RESPECTS AGREEMENT WITH COUNCIL.

The European Parliament's Committee on Budgets (COBU) voted on the 2008 budget at second reading, on 29 November in Brussels. MEPs followed the compromise reached with the Council, on 23 November (see Europolitics 3421). In this construction phase for the definitive distribution of the funds allocated to each section, the COBU proposed a reduction in Cohesion Funds.

To recall, the agreement reached during the budgetary consultation provides for a global level of payments amounting to 120,346 billion, ie. 0.96% of the EU's gross national income. Furthermore, it proposes financing the Galileo programme and the European Institute of Technology in particular by digging into the agricultural subventions not used in 2007. Lastly, the funds reserved for the Common Foreign and Security Policy will total 285.25 million. Of this amount, 70 million will be mobilised via the flexibility instrument in order to further finance the EU's actions in Kosovo and in Palestine.

The COBU had to review the breakdown of funds between each budgetary area in order to respect the agreement with the Council. As there are very few areas where cuts can be made, the rapporteur, Kyosti Virrankoski (ALDE, Finland), suggested reducing the funds for subsection 1b (Cohesion). This solution was accepted, although some MEPs fear sending out a negative message to the new member states which benefit en masse from the Structural Funds.

The Committee on Budgets also proposes freeing up some of the funds placed in reserve at first reading, in particular those relating to the Frontex agency, the Schengen Information System and the administrative expenditures of the European Commission.

The plenary, which will make its decision at second reading on 13 December in Strasbourg, could follow these recommendations.an

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Title Annotation:European Parliament's Committee on Budgets
Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Dec 3, 2007
Words:284
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