Lyon: EU must justify spending increases

george-lyon-mep-15Commenting on the European Commission request for an additional 11.2 billion euros in an amending budget, senior Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Budget Committee, said:

It is hard to understand how the Commission can justify this increase in the EU budget, long before bills from Member States are even through the door.

At this stage the Commission has no definite idea of what the final payment claims will be for EU projects and will not know until later in the autumn what size the bills from Member States to the EU budget are likely to be.

This ‘big-bang’ announcement from the Commission is premature and the Commissioner has to explain how on earth it has arrived at these figures.

The EU cannot always be the Oliver Twist of international organisations. Simply asking for more is not good enough. The Commission needs to explain why it believes it needs such a huge increase in the 2013 budget when it is only three months into the spending year.

1.5bn Euros, which would be the UK’s share of this money, is not exactly pocket change.

At a tough time for ordinary families and citizens across Europe, EU spending cannot be out of touch with the problems of the real world and people deserve some more answers.

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8 Comments

  • I am pleased to see this attitude from one of our Liberal Democrats MEPs. It is distinctly at odds with the views expressed by Sarah Ludford MEP, who comes across as an apologist for EU profligacy.

  • Simon McGrath 29th Mar '13 - 12:56pm

    Excellent to see one of our Euro MEPs showing that being pro Europe doesn’t nessasrily mean supporting everything Brussels does.
    But why so we send money to Brussels only for them to ‘give’ back to us in the first place ?

  • Sarah Ludford 29th Mar '13 - 1:51pm

    ‘Graham’ claims that ‘Sarah Ludford MEP…comes across as an apologist for EU profligacy’.

    Can he explain that comment? It has no basis in fact whatsoever, as I’ve consistently backed EU budget constraint eg http://www.sarahludfordmep.org.uk/node/520, http://www.sarahludfordmep.org.uk/node/430; and http://www.sarahludfordmep.org.uk/node/2202 which reports a speech I made last November saying: ‘It is politically impossible to argue to EU citizens under pressure and losing their jobs that the EU budget should rise. So a freeze is the EU-friendly policy.’

    In particular votes I have voted as advised by my budget expert colleague George Lyon, as I think he will attest. (I made one accidental mistake in the vote at ther last plenary, which was corrected).

  • Pushing for restraint in EU spending should not be done reluctantly, in a tone of lament and as a concession to political necessity – because it is ‘politically impossible’ to justify increases to hard-pressed voters – but out of genuine conviction that the EU needs to live in the real world and cut its coat accordingly.

    Do those Lib Dem MEPs who warned that the idea of a real-terms cut in the EU budget was a non-starter continue to believe it is folly, or is this now justified on the grounds of political necessity?

  • Sarah Ludford 30th Mar '13 - 10:18am

    I asked ‘Graham’ yesterday for an explanation of his comment that ‘Sarah Ludford MEP…comes across as an apologist for EU profligacy’. I have demonstrated that it is not true. I’m sufficiently annoyed – as well as puzzled – to ask that he please now justify or withdraw it.

  • Alex Macfie 30th Mar '13 - 1:39pm

    Decisions made by MEPs voting in parliament are *part* of what “Brussels” does. Being an MEP means deciding EU policy, so of course it does not make sense for an MEP, whatever their political leaning, to “support everything Brussels does”. They help DECIDE IT!

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