Swoboda on the EU budget: „If the Council does not move, there will be no agreement“

Following negotiations this week on the ‚amending budget‘ for 2013, the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament laid out clear conditions for accepting the EU budget for 2014-2020 – the multiannual financial framework.

Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group, said: „We welcome the readiness of European finance ministers to have serious discussions on closing the existing gap in the budget of 2013. But this is not enough. It must be clear that the current deficit (at least €16 billion) is not a result of EU overspending, but of national governments not financing the commitments they have made. It is unacceptable that governments commit money to EU programmes but then refuse to pay the bill.

„We cannot agree to the EU budget for 2014-2020 without ensuring that all the outstanding bills are paid. I deplore the lack of willingness from some governments to engage seriously with the European Parliament on finding a compromise on the multiannual financial framework.

„The budgetary demands of the European Parliament are reasonable. In order to finance EU priorities for growth and job creation – including the fight against youth unemployment – we want more flexibility in the use of European funds, a legally binding revision after the 2014 European elections and an overhaul of the way the EU budget is financed.“

On the issue of tax evasion and tax avoidance, Hannes Swoboda added: „Tax evasion and avoidance lead to a €1 trillion loss each year for tax authorities in Europe, which amounts to almost seven years of EU budgets. We need an ambitious and efficient strategy against tax evasion and avoidance so that additional funds can support a European growth policy.“