House of Lords Press Release
Embargo: 00:01 Thursday 30 July 2009
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659
LORDS EU COMMITTEE PUBLISH REPORT ON 2010 EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES BUDGET
The House of Lords EU Committee have today criticised the European Commission's proposals for the 2010 European Communities budget for maintaining a very high level of spending on agriculture and failing to shift adequate resources to stimulus measures to aid economic recovery.
In regard to the proportion of the budget that is spent on agriculture the Committee state that it is "disappointing in the context of the financial crises that this proportion remains so large" They go on to say that the insistence on maintaining agricultural spending is "deeply frustrating". £51 billion has been allocated to Heading 2 (Preservation and Management of Natural Resources) of the Budget of which agricultural spending is a significant part. In comparison, £54 billion has been allocated to Heading 1, Sustainable Growth. The Committee argues spending should be reallocated to Heading 1.
The Committee also comment on the system of multi-year ceilings on budget spending, while that arrangement is useful for discipline and stability it makes it hard for the EU to grow its spending to provide a stimulus during an economic downturn.
The report also points out that at present the margin between the ceiling and proposed spending levels under the Competitiveness and Growth heading is not great enough to accommodate spending as part of the European Economy Recovery Plan as well other unforeseen expenditures.
Commenting Baroness Cohen, Chairman of the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs, said:
"At a time where it is clear that Europe's economy needs major economic stimulus it is very frustrating that so much of the EU's spending continues to be channelled to agricultural spending that provides very poor value for money.
"It is vital that the budget is looked at again so projects which can provide real economic and social benefits, such as investment in green technologies, are given the funding they need while the Common Agricultural Policy spending is appropriately reduced."
Notes to Editors
1. The report The EC Budget 2010 is available from The Stationery Office, House of Lords EU Committee (Sub-Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs), 20th Report of 2008/09, HL Paper 146.
2. The report will be available online shortly after publication at: