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Minister Stubb to attend 2012 EU budget negotiations

16.11.2011  |  Press release 138/2011

The ministers responsible for the European Union budget will convene in the ECOFIN-Budget Council in Brussels on Friday 18 November 2011 to discuss the EU budget for 2012. Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, will represent Finland at the meeting. 

The main aim of the conciliation committee to be held during the Council meeting is to reach agreement on next year´s EU budget between the Council, Parliament and Commission. Both the Council and Parliament have taken a position on the Commission´s draft budget published in April 2011. The negotiations will focus especially on the overall level of commitment appropriations, where there is a wide gap between the views of the Council and Parliament at this stage.   

Finland supports the growth percentage proposed in the budget, which according to the Council´s position would be 2.02% relative to 2011. However, in the summer, when the Council´s position was being formulated, Finland´s view was that the Presidency´s proposal was not a balanced one. In Finland´s opinion, the percentage of cuts involving measures aimed at promoting competitiveness and particularly research programmes was too large. For this reason, Finland voted against the Council´s position in the summer.

In August, the Council´s position for the 2012 budget totalled EUR 146.2 billion in commitment appropriations and EUR 129.1 billion in payments appropriations.

Finland cannot support the European Parliament´s position as such, either, because it involves overall growth that is too large. The Parliament´s position means that the budget total would be EUR 147.8 billion in commitment appropriations and EUR 133.1 billion in payments appropriations.

Finland aims for a budget where there is better equilibrium between the funds for competitiveness and those for cohesion policy. Taking into consideration the financial positions of central governments, overall growth in the budget should be kept at a suitably moderate and realistic level. To this end, the Council´s position would be a good starting point for negotiations. Finland takes a constructive approach to the negotiations, with a view to achieving a sustainable overall solution.  

It is also possible that a solution for additional funding for the international ITER project for a fusion energy reactor will be sought.

Inquiries: Mr Martti Anttinen, Director, Budget Department, tel. 358 9 160 33015 and Mr Paavo Kytömäki, Director, Budget Department, tel. 358 9 160 33046

For requests for interviews, please contact Mr Antti Timonen, Press Attaché to the Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, tel: 358405907231 or email: antti.timonen@formin.fi

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