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EU budget must share cuts pain

October 21, 2010 10:01 AM

In a move condemned by London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, the majority of MEPs yesterday voted for 6% more EU spending at the same time as MPs met at Westminster to hear government plans for cuts in the UK budget.

Liberal Democrat Euro-MPs voted to freeze the €130 million EU budget at 2010 levels.

Labour MEPs voted against that freeze and in favour of £1.5 million more EU money for trade unions, more for the expensive EU earth observation programme, and more money for EU information centres. Labour MEPs also rejected an amendment expressing concern that European Parliament pensions took no account of the current economic crisis.

Sarah Ludford said:

"Big cuts are having to be made in every Member State, not just in the UK. In the light of that, voting to increase the EU budget makes the European Parliament look as if it is on another planet, and as an MEP who is not, I resent that slur on us all!"

"Liberal Democrats voted today for a standstill budget and for many amendments to reduce individual budget lines. Labour is living in cloud cuckoo land and seems to have no understanding of the struggle necessary to get our economies under control."

"There are certainly areas of EU activity where increased spending could be justified on the basis that pooling expenditure is better value, for instance joint research or joint embassies abroad. But the only viable basis to do that is to cut some existing programmes."