Romanias ruling coalition urges president to take hard line on EU budget.

By bne IntelliNews November 20, 2012
The Romanian parliament, led by the centre-left ruling coalition USL, is summoning today, Nov 20, to adopt a statement supporting the European Commission and European Parliament's version of the EU's 2014-2020 budget, daily Ziarul Financiar reported. The parliament will also urge President Traian Basescu to reject the reduction of the EU budget as proposed by some member states and backed by the European Council's President Herman Van Rompuy. As reported, Van Rompuy proposed the EU budget to be reduced by EUR 75bn (from EUR 1,025bn proposed by the EC) - most of which would be on the account of lower structural funds and agriculture allocations. IntelliNews Comment : Apart from Romania's predictable interest in structural and cohesion funds, the issue also has a domestic politics dimension. Leftist PM Victor Ponta puts pressure on his main rival, President Basescu, several weeks before the December 9 parliamentary elections. Even if independent by law, Basescu is still the political sponsor of the centre-right coalition that has ruled before May 2012 when the leftist USL overthrew the cabinet of previous PM Mihai Razvan Ungureanu amid popular frustration with the fiscal austerity. PM Ponta urged President Basescu to use his veto right and block the negotiations for the EU's 2014-2020 budget if necessary, which is visibly not the softer negotiation line that President Basescu would opt for. Romania eyes EUR 40-45bn under the 2014-2020 EU budget, up from EUR 34bn under the previous 2007-2013 budget, according to the Romanian Centre for European Studies (CRPE) as quoted by Hotnews. The country is expected to contribute EUR 9bn to the 2014-2020 budget, slightly up from EUR 8bn in 2007-2013. Romania has legitimate reasons to oppose Van Rompuy's proposal, CRPE concludes - but it does not recommend an open use of the veto right. Furthermore, the allocations for Romania will rise in any situation from the previous period (2007-2013). Two key issues for Romania in Van Rompuy's proposal are i. linking future allocations to current absorption rates and ii. slowing down the convergence in direct payments [per ha] between the old and new member states, according to CRPE.

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