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MEPs must set lead on savings

March 29, 2012 2:08 PM

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed a vote by Euro-MPs on the European Parliament's 2013 budget but called for even more Brussels belt-tightening.

In a first stage before further negotiations with the other EU institutions, MEPs backed savings of 9.3 million Euros (£7.8m) in order to achieve a real terms freeze in the Parliament's budget for next year, rising only in line with the rate of inflation of 1.9%.

Sarah Ludford commented:

"In times of economic hardship and national austerity measures, the whole European Parliament must tighten its belt. This certainly means freezing MEP allowances, capping travel expenditure and cutting planned funding for political parties as a first step."

"But further savings must also be found before the finalisation of the budget later this year. The Parliament must cap its civil servant numbers and tighten up some over-generous staff terms and conditions."

"It's also madness that money continues to be wasted on a second seat in Strasbourg. So I'm delighted that MEPs today voted overwhelmingly to include in the budget negotiations the call for having just one seat in Brussels. This would slice £180 million a year off the total. Our hard-pressed citizens must refuse to let the 27 EU governments dodge this issue."

Notes to Editors

The Commission has announced a 1% reduction in staff numbers in 2013 as the first step in the planned 5% reduction in the new MFF.

The full report adopted today can be found here:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A7-2012-0062&language=EN

The adopted draft budget for the European Parliament will now be forwarded to the Commission and negotiations with Member States will take place after the summer recess. In the meantime Parliament's Budget Committee is looking into making further savings and has requested additional studies into travel costs, building maintenance costs and an external evaluation of the EP budget. Parliament has also requested an analysis of its institutional budget compared to some national budgets and to budget of the US Congress.

You can see Sarah Ludford's recent press release on the Single Seat issue can be seen here: http://sarahludfordmep.org.uk/en/article/2012/560183/meps-vote-for-thrift-and-single-seat