Europe refuses to make clear budgetary decisions

24 October 2018

“Once again, the European Parliament is refusing to make clear choices. Instead of being economical and efficient with tax revenues, it keeps asking for more money.” MEP Sander Loones reacts with disappointment to the budget proposal that the European Parliament adopted today. The European Parliament wants the EU to spend over EUR 166 billion in 2019. That is six billion more than in 2018. “There are indeed new needs and new priorities that deserve more attention and therefore stronger budgetary support. However, if we want to remain credible, that must be combined with getting rid of the things that the EU is not doing well today, or even better, should not do anymore,” says Sander Loones.

Follies for souls

His colleague Anneleen Van Bossuyt agrees. “Europe continues to invest stubbornly in follies, such as the free distribution of rail passes. Last year, EUR 12 million were made available for the start-up, and now the European Parliament wants to spend EUR 16 million on this expensive free gimmick. There is no clear added value. It is nothing more than a clumsy and transparent attempt to win the souls of young Europeans.”

Superfluous aid for Turkey

MEP Mark Demesmaeker sees more unnecessary costs: “As far as Turkey is concerned, the Parliament also refuses to stop the waste of money altogether. We are taking a step in the right direction; after long insistence, President Erdogan will receive EUR 66.8 million less than expected. But the N-VA is of the opinion that we should no longer be sending pre-accession aid to Turkey because the country will not be joining the EU. That is why Europe must simply cancel this aid and invest in other priorities.”

More money for security

Finally, Helga Stevens sees a few positive points in the draft budget: “We are pleased that Europe acknowledges that it needs to invest more in the safety of our citizens and in restricting migration. For example, EUR 74.7 million will be allocated in 2019 to initiatives and agencies that are committed to improved security. The root causes of migration are tackled with more money. We welcome this adjusted focus, but these themes still represent too small a part of the EU budgetary pie. That must change urgently if Europe really wants to meet the needs of its citizens.”

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