The EU’s multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 has been the focus of discussions between Minister of State Michael Link and Austrian State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka.
“Since the start of the negotiations Germany and Austria have been pressing, along with other net contributors, for a marked reduction in the Commission’s draft budget. In times of tough cuts and fiscal consolidation in Europe, the EU budget cannot be exempt here,” Link and Lopatka emphasized.
“What’s also of key importance is the quality of spending. The budget must be geared to boosting growth and competitiveness. The savings proposed by Germany and Austria reflect the motto “better rather than more spending”, Link and Lopatka noted. “The EU’s next budget must be managed much more efficiently and effectively. In many cases appropriated funds wait for years to be disbursed. This is a situation that must be urgently remedied,” they pointed out. “If available funds are well-targeted,” Minister of State Link added, “the next multiannual financial framework will be the best pact for growth Europe has ever had.”
Germany and Austria also see scope for savings on administration and have called on the Commission to propose cuts in this area as well.
The future of Europe was another topic discussed at the meeting between Minister of State Link and State Secretary Lopatka. At the invitation of Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, the Future of Europe Group, in which Austria’s Deputy Chancellor Michael Spindelegger has played an active role, has drawn up a set of proposals aimed at enabling the EU to act more effectively and hold its own in an increasingly competitive world. The Group’s proposals highlight the importance of enhancing both the economic and monetary union as well as the democratic legitimacy of EU policy-making and ensuring that Europe’s citizens are more involved in such processes.
The results of the Group’s work were presented this week to EU Council President Van Rompuy and European Commission President Barroso.