Open Europe Blog

The media reported last week that EU member states have agreed to push for €3.6 billion worth of “cuts” to the EU budget for 2011, bringing the new total figure to €126.6 billion.

The BBC highlighted the news with the headline, “EU budget plans for 2011 cut by ministers”. But just in case someone missed it, this is not really “cuts” in the sense that the EU’s overall budget will be downsized. The “cuts” still represent a 2.9 percent increase from the budget for 2010, but a more modest increase than what the Commission’s original proposal envisaged. Predictably, even this modest modification will be resisted by the Commission and the European Parliament, with a a spokesman for Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski, saying: “It is not our intention to redo our numbers” (numbers which include a pay rise for the Commission and all other EU officials.)

We’re eagerly awaiting the day when the word “austerity” enters the Brussels vocabulary.

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