Governments will have to cough up a few more
billion euros for the European Union's budget this year, otherwise it
will not be able to cover all of its bills, the bloc's budget
commissioner, Janusz Lewandowski, warned on Wednesday.
In December, E.U. governments settled on a 129.1 billion euro ($161 billion) figure for 2012, an increase of 1.86 percent from 2011. Lewandowski, who had proposed a 5-per-cent raise, had predicted then that it would not be enough.
"We can expect a shortfall of several billions for sure," Lewandoski said in Brussels, saying that the E.U. commission still needs to distribute outstanding regional aid and research grants that could not be covered by the 2011 budget due to previous cuts.
"We really need a so-called amending budget and additional capacity to pay audited, legitimate bills in 2012," he said, calling on E.U. member states to deliver on their pledge to provide "additional needs" if those were required.
Over the last two years, the commission has clashed repeatedly with national governments over their attempts to limit the sum the E.U. spends each year.
For 2013, the E.U. executive's proposal to raise the budget by 6.3 percent has already led to howls of protest from austerity-conscious governments, like those in Germany and Britain.
But a much bigger fight is expected to play out over the next months on the E.U.'s spending plan for 2014-2020, expected to be worth around 1 trillion euros. The size of the budget and spending priorities needs to be decided by December.
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