JAKARTA: The European Parliament adopted the 2011 EU budget at its plenary session in Strasbourg on Wednesday.The adopted budget reflects most of MEPs' (Members of European Parliament) priorities, while respecting the total limits laid down by the Council, citing the press release on European Union.In this year's budget negotiations, MEPs also reached agreement with the council and commission regarding several budget-related political demands.
The 2011 budget, as adopted by the full parliament, includes more funding for the priorities set out by MEPs, including youth, innovation, the Middle East peace process and Palestine. For competitiveness on growth and employment, MEP budgeted 38 million euro to conduct some programs related to entrepreneurship and lifelong learningWhile, for Cohesion for growth and employment, MEPs added a new line, worth 2.5 million euro on the development of the Baltic Sea strategy. In terms of preservation and management of natural resources, MEPs increased the environment program to 6.7 million euro and support for the management of fishery resources by 2 million euro.To enhance freedom, security and justice in the region, MEPs won 2.35 million euro for the Daphne program to fight violence against women and children and 1 million euro allocated for prevention of terrorism. In citizenship development, MEPs obtained 4 million euro to support the World Special Olympics in Athens and 3 million euro to the Youth in Action program.EU as a global partner set aside an extra amount of 100 million euro for Palestine, the peace process and UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency).Regarding the overall figures, MEPs accepted the levels proposed in the commission's draft budget of 26 November about 141.8 billion euro in commitment appropriations and 126.5 billion euro in payments. Parliament has always attached more importance to the level of commitments, since they determine the expenditure.Furthermore, there is an agreement between council, parliament and commission that, should additional funds be necessary to fulfil the EU's legal obligations, there will be amending budgets during 2011, as the EU budget cannot legally have a deficit.Aside from the 2011 budget, parliament had a number of political demands relating to the implementation of the budgetary provisions in the Lisbon Treaty.MEPs laid down seven such demands in a budget resolution adopted at the Strasbourg plenary session in October. The main ones concerned parliament's involvement in the talks on the next long-term budget and on a new system of own resources.On the own resources issue, the commission will present a formal proposal by the end of June 2011, so that it is discussed at the same time as the future financial perspective. Parliament's involvement in these matters was laid down in the Treaty (Art. 312.5, 324 and 311) but needed to be worked out in more detail.Parliament also successfully argued for systematic assessments to be made of the European added value of new legislation and its funding; for a report on the cost of "non-Europe" and for an evaluation of the benefits of synergies between the EU and national budgets.Parliament wants in this way to ensure that EU taxpayers get the best value for money.In addition, a compromise was reached on the new priorities stemming from the Lisbon Treaty for which no provision had yet been made in the 2011 budget.The European Commission has undertaken to examine how these new priority areas could be boosted in the budgets for 2012 and 2013. (NOM)
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