HL Deb 20 January 1986 vol 470 c106WA
Lord Seebohm

asked Her Majesty's Government;

To what extent the 1986 European Economic Community budget respects the conclusions on budgeting discipline agreed by the Council in December 1984 (European Communities Committee, 2nd Report, 1984–85 (HL 66)).

The Secretary of State for Employment (Lord Young of Graffham)

In accordance with the budgetary discipline conclusions adopted by the Council in December 1984, the guideline for expenditure on agricultural market support in 1986 was set at 20,619.4 million ecu for the Community of Ten (about £12,650 million if converted at a rate of 1.63 ecu to the £). The provision for this expenditure in the 1986 Budget as adopted by the European Parliament totals 20,445 million ecu (about £12,543 million) and is therefore within the agreed guideline. The budget provides in addition for corresponding expenditure of 567 million ecu (£348 million) in Spain and Portugal.

With regard to non-obligatory expenditure, the budget for 1986 as adopted by the European Parliament fails to respect the Council's budget discipline conclusions. The United Kingdom had already argued at the 27th November Budget Council that the proposed increase of 1,251 million ecu (£767 million) in this expenditure which the Council agreed by qualified majority was too high and represented a threat to budget discipline. The European Parliament then adopted in December a budget which incorporates a further increase of some 630 million ecu (£386 million) in this expenditure. This further increase was also incompatible with the relevant budgetary provisions of the treaty, which oblige the Parliament and the Council to reach agreement on a new maximum rate of increase in non-obligatory expenditure if the maximum rate calculated on the basis laid down in the treaty is to be exceeded. The Council has therefore decided to take legal proceedings before the European Court against the Parliament's adoption of the Budget.