FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVE 2007-2013 (11734/05,
5834/06, 5835/06, 5836/06, 5837/06, 6297/06)
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
I am writing to update you on the latest developments
in the negotiation for a new Inter-institutional Agreement (IIA)
for the 2007-13 Financial Perspective.
At a trilogue on 4 April, the Austrian Presidency
agreed a framework for a new Inter-institutional Agreement with
the Commission and the European Parliament. The Presidency circulated
a detailed draft IIA text on 11 April on the basis of this framework,
and which I attach for your information.
The main elements of the draft text include:
An overall Financial Perspective
expenditure ceiling of 864.3 billion, 2 billion more
than the agreement reached by the European Council in December.
A further 2 billion of expenditure will be possible outside
the Financial Perspective (including the 1.5 billion Emergency
Aid Reserve, called up from Member States when needed);
No change to the existing financial
amounts allocated to the flexibility mechanisms, including the
Solidarity Fund, the annual flexibility instrument (though funds
could now be rolled over for up to two years), the Emergency Aid
Reserve, or the 5 per cent reference amount in individual regulations.
No change to the existing decision making procedures to activate
these instruments. In addition, the Globalisation Adjustment Fund
The inclusion of text on various
non-financial issues (including the Financial Regulation, the
creation of EU agencies, certification of Member State spending,
financial programming) and a separate declaration on the 2008-09
review of the budget. None of this text changes the fundamental
institutional balance between the arms of the budgetary authority.
Some of it, such as the text on certification, should lead to
an improvement in the EU's financial management.
Member States indicated at Coreper on 12 April
that they were content with the final text agreed with the EP.
The UK joined this consensus, reflecting the Government's view
that this text maintains the essential elements of the agreement
reached by the European Council in December. The Presidency will
now formally ask the Council to adopt the IIA text. We expect
this to be either by written procedure or as an A-point at a forthcoming
Council. The text would also be adopted by the EP at its mid-May
As you know, two Community documents related
to the IIA are currently under scrutiny:
5973/06 Commission working document:
Revised proposal for renewal of the Inter-institutional Agreement
on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure;
6426/06 Commission contribution to
the inter-institutional negotiations on the proposal for renewal
of the Inter-institutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and
improvement of the budgetary procedure.
I stand ready to take forward whatever scrutiny
measures the committee deems necessary after the recess.
13 April 2006
Letter from Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary
of State for International Development, Department for International
Development to the Chairman
On 16 March 2006, your Committee discussed the
Communication on External Actions through Thematic Programmes
under the Future Financial Perspectives 2007-13 (FP) and the five
specific thematic Communications as per above. Your Committee
cleared all Communications for scrutiny on the basis that I press
for more clarity on the issues raised in my EM. Similarly, you
asked me to inform you of the budget allocations for each programme
There has been some development since I last
wrote. On 16 February, Council decided in Coreper to pursue a
line of negotiations with the European Parliament based on including
all current geographic and thematic regulations into the DCECIthe
new Development Instrument. Promoting simplicity and effectiveness
in the management of EC external spend underpinned this decision.
We supported this line.
Following this, the Austrian Presidency prepared
procedural Council Conclusions on the seven specific thematic
Communications plus the global one. These Conclusions simply took
note of the respective Communications and invited the Commission
and Member States to integrate these as appropriate into the new
external action instruments, including the DCECI. The Conclusions
were adopted by the Environment Council on 9 March. A copy of
the Conclusions is attached.
The Presidency then brought forward proposals
on how to include these regulations into the DCECI. They were
briefly discussed in Council working groups. It is our understanding
that discussions on the Communications as part of the DCECI will
replace any discussions and adoption of the specific thematic
Communications in Council. We plan to raise concerns spelled out
in our respective EMs in the context of these discussions.
The EP Development Committee adopted their report
on the DCECI on March 21. They rejected the approach adopted by
the Council for the thematic regulations. We anticipate that high-level
political negotiations will be needed to move this dossier further.
We will write again once there is more progress.
It is our wish to keep you as informed as possible, but I hope
you share my view that this is a complex process where the outcome
is sometimes difficult to anticipate.
24 April 2006