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French MEP goes on hunger strike over 'ridiculous' EU budget

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MEP Pierre Larrouturou, Brussels Oct 28 2020
MEP Pierre Larrouturou, Brussels Oct 28 2020   -   Copyright  Euronews
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A French MEP has gone on hunger strike to call out the lack of funding for climate, health and research policies in the EU's coronavirus busting budget.

Socialist Pierre Larrouturou told Euronews that a bigger budget is needed to live up to the EU's ambitions.

He explained that after the 'yellow vest' movement, it's clear that people are fed up with being taxed, so he wants to see the EU get serious about having a financial transaction tax.

It's a scandal that there is no tax on speculation.
Pierre Larrouturou

Larrouturou points to a directive, which he emphasises is not 'from the far-left' but was drawn up under the Barroso Commission in 2011 which wanted to place a 0.1% tax on the trading of stocks and bonds, 'it's not the end of the world', he added.

He claims that by the end of the year with this tax, Europe could collect 50 billion euros for the EU budget.

It's money for health, climate, research for the next seven years, and we've only got fifteen days left.
Pierre Larrouturou

He added that he may appear stressed, but that is because everything depends on the next fifteen days.

The EU is a little 'bizarre' he goes on to say, that unlike national budgets, the EU negotiates a budget for the seven years to come, so the battle over a financial transaction tax will be decided now for the next seven year period.

Larrouturou explains that the parliament is a little 'annoyed', as the EU leaders, while they made good decisions for the short-term coronavirus fallout, the deal agreed in July over the EU budget was the most 'tight-fisted' it could be.

So, he decided, the only course of action was to go on hunger strike to get his message across. He said he couldn't in good conscience accept such a 'ridiculous' budget.

The hunger strike comes as several groups of MEPs are locked in battle with the European Council over the EU long-term budget. One group is arguing to raise the total amount by an extra 39 billion euros, while another group is seeking assurances that rule of law is respected by linking access to cash to following the EU's democratic values.