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EU 2008 budget plan under fire

Several EU countries, including Germany, France, Great-Britain and the Netherlands, expressed displeasure about the 2008 EU budget plan, now in the pipeline.

The budget plan, presented by Lithuania’s Dalia Grybauskaite to ECOFIN Council, has a frame sum of €121.6 billion ($165.3 billion), 5.3% higher than this year, wrote Dutch new agency ANP. Opponents say the EU is likely to spend less so the budget will not be inciting effective management. Grybauskaite holds the opposite opinion. According to the draft plan, 44.2% of the budget, €57.2 billion, would go to sustainable development projects. The common agricultural issues would be given €56.3 billion. The EU would spend 14% more on infrastructure projects aiming to strengthen cohesion between the member states. 11% more would be spent on research, an additional 14% on energy and transportation, and 9% more on lifelong learning. At the same time, administration costs will rise 5.7%, partly because the expansion of the apparatus made necessary by the EU expansion. EU’s outside missions, Kosovo and Palestine, as well as the European Galileo satellite locator system will cost more as well. (Napi Gazdaság)