§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the basis for Her Majesty's Government's opinion that the European Parliament's declaration of the adoption of the 1979 Budget was illegal; and why the Government are refusing to make a contribution to the Community's Budget on 1 February based on that declaration.
§ Mr. Joel Barnett
Article 203 of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, and corresponding provisions in the other two treaties, set out the budgetary procedure of the Communities. All the institutions of the Communities are required to conform during the budgetary procedure to a prescribed maximum rate of increase in non-obligatory expenditure. This maximum rate may be exceeded only by agreement between the Council and the Assembly. There was no such agreement in regard to the 1979 Budget. The Council concluded unanimously that the statements by the President of the Assembly, to the effect that this Budget had been finally adopted, did not, therefore, comply with the provisions of the treaties.
On the second part of the hon. Member's question, I refer to the answer that I 290W gave to him on 23 January.—[Vol. 961, c. 91.]