As the European Council tussled in tough negotiations on the European Union’s 2014-2020 budget, with a proposal on the table that would shave billions off the overall figure for the bloc’s budget, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that he had been given promises that his country would get bigger amounts in this next programming period, including an additional two billion euro for agriculture.
The money set aside for Bulgaria also included 260 million euro in compensation for the decommissioning of four units at the country’s Kozloduy nuclear power station.
Borissov told journalists at the European Council meeting in Brussels, which began on February 7 and continued late into the early hours before resuming on Friday, that he had been given assurances by European Council President Herman van Rompuy and German chancellor Angela Merkel that Bulgaria would get the most among all EU member states in relation to its contribution to the bloc’s budget.
Borissov said that there was “big tension” in the budget negotiations because of the reductions being negotiated, and when money was cut, every country was dissatisfied and was trying to protect its own interest. Some countries were getting billions of euro less and were facing great difficulties, Borissov said.
He said that should the European Council negotiations on the 2014-2020 budget framework fail, there would have to be negotiations every year over the period, which he said would be a disadvantage for Bulgaria as a country building up its infrastructure in long-term projects.
In Sofia, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Dyankov said that Bulgaria’s position was that if there had to be reductions in the EU’s multiannual financial framework, these should come from the “inflated” administrative costs of the European Commission in Brussels while, in turn, the funds to raise the level of development of the EU’s poorer regions should be left untouched.
The proposal that was tabled for discussion early in the morning of February 8 envisages a cut of about 34.4 billion euro over the next seven years, the first time in the 56-year history of the EU that it has cut its budget.
(Main photo: Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, left, and European Commission President Jose Barroso: EC Audiovisual Service)