European Parliament's 2013 Budget Frozen For Expenditure Cut

Members of the European Parliament have agreed to freeze its budget for 2013, at least in real terms, and to scrutinize it for possible further savings.

After a debate on Thursday on guidelines for establishing its own 2013 budget, MEPs agreed that the budget should not exceed the rate of inflation. The resolution was approved by a show of hands.

Derek Vaughan, who is steering the EP's 2013 budget through Parliament, said "in times of crisis it is important that MEPs demonstrate they are playing their part and are looking to make savings."

To keep spending within the self-imposed budget limits and to identify further scope for long-term savings, members agreed to look for "overlaps and inefficiencies across budgetary lines". They also want an independent evaluation of the EP budget.

Furthermore, it was agreed that all the individual allowances for MEPs will be frozen until the end of this Parliament's term. All travel-related budget lines, including those for staff, will be frozen at 2012 levels. The overall travel budget had already been cut by five percent for 2012.

MEPs also adopted an amendment stipulating that "the real and biggest saving could be made by having a single seat for the European Parliament." They therefore want the situation be evaluated without further delay. As many as 329 MEPs voted in favor of the amendment, 223 against, 23 abstained.

Following discussion with the Budgets Committee, the Parliament's Bureau will prepare the budget estimates for 2013. It will be forwarded to the European Commission, which then consolidates these estimates in the annual draft budget. The revised budget will be submitted to Parliament and the European Council not later than September 1.

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