Pressure mounts to secure EU budget deal
Taoiseach flies to Brussels for special meeting
A number of senior MEP’s have accused Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore of prematurely claiming that agreement had been reached on the so-called Multi-Annual Financial Framework last week
The Government was under mounting pressure last night to secure agreement on the EU’s seven-year budget ahead of an emergency meeting with top EU officials in Brussels this morning.
As Ireland entered the final day of its presidency of the Council of the European Union, discussions by phone between Mr Gilmore and the European Parliament ended without agreement yesterday, with the European Parliament refusing to sign up to a package agreed by the Tánaiste and the European Parliament’s chief negotiator Alain Lamassoure last week.
A number of senior MEP’s have accused Mr Gilmore of prematurely claiming that agreement had been reached on the so-called Multi-Annual Financial Framework last week.
The Parliament is calling for greater flexibility in how the EU’s seven-year budget is administered, but member states are reluctant to cede any further ground on the negotiations.
Senior European Parliament sources said last night that it was unlikely a vote scheduled to take place at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg next week would take place, which would push final negotiations on the EU’s budget for 2014 to 2020 into the autumn.
While payments under the Multi-Annual Financial Framework do not start until January 1st, a number of job-promoting initiatives due to be discussed at a summit of EU leaders today are dependent on this funding, giving added impetus to this morning’s talks.
In Berlin, officials indicated Chancellor Angela Merkel was anxious to come to an agreement on the financial framework today.
“If it is necessary to have talks ahead of the council then we will join them,” the official said.
However, British officials warned the European Parliament not to push its luck, warning that Mr Gilmore, who is negotiating on member states’ behalf, had reached the limits of his mandate.