21st February 2013
Since the European Council agreed to cut the EU budget for the first time in 56 years, the European Parliament has been posturing and positioning itself to stand against the wishes of national governments. Some MEPs are now talking of holding a secret ballot in an effort to thwart the wishes of Member States.
The suggestion by the German Socialist President of the European Parliament that the vote on the budget should be a secret ballot is absurd. Taxpaying constituents have a right to know how their representatives in the EU vote on how their hard-earned money is spent.
I believe that the deal reached is good for the people of the South West. The overall EU budget will be cut by 3.4% in real terms, the first ever cut agreed. Funding will continue for Cornwall, and a new category of funding will mean that Devon will now receive EU funds. Overall, the budget will have a greater focus on research and innovation, which will help create jobs and promote growth.
This type of reform to the EU budget is exactly what is necessary – we need to be doing more with less, just as households and businesses across the South West are doing. Funds need to be re-focused to where they can promote growth.
The budget is by no means perfect, but it represents a sensible and pragmatic compromise. I hope the European Parliament acts responsibly when it gets its say.