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EU regions at risk over budget squabble


brussels bureau

EU regions at risk over budget squabble

The EU’s poorest regions could be the biggest losers at this week’s budget summit as member states look to agree upon how much to spend on Europe over the next seven years.

The European Commission wants just over one trillion euros. EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy has proposed 30 billion euros less than that.

If Van Rompuy’s plans are adopted, development projects in less wealthy parts of Europe could loe money, the so-called cohesion funds.

Polish PM Donald Tusk said in Brussels last week: “Better spending must not be understood to mean no money at all. We are in favour of a balanced approach to potential cuts in the budget. Such cuts should be applied in a balanced manner throughout all European policies.”

One goal of the EU’s regional policy is to smooth out economic differences between the poorer regions in the east and south, and the rest of Europe by allocating so-called cohesion funds.

Spain once tapped regional cohesion funds to help pay for high speed trains. But now it could lose some 30 percent of that funding, which would be another blow to a country in crisis.

Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, Spanish Minister for European Affairs, said: “We want to find an agreement, but it’s not good to strike a bad agreement. So if we can’t find a good agreement, there won’t be one.”

“Everyone agrees that savings need to be made, but where to cut? Should every European region lose out or only the richest, as some are demanding,” explains Euronews’ Margherita Sforza

“That will be played out at the EU summit later this week,” she said.

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