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Sweden slams EU budget proposal

Sweden slams EU budget proposal

Published: 30 Jun 2011 10:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Jun 2011 17:44 GMT+02:00

EU's budget proposal has been heavily criticised by Sweden, with one MP calling it "the most provocative budget in EU history".

Among the proposed reforms is a new EU tax on sales and services and a fee linked to financial transactions to finance a five percent increase in the EU budget.

Sweden’s EU minister Birgitta Ohlsson is very critical of the new proposals.

“In order for the EU to compete with India, China and other parts of the world in the future there is a need for significant reforms and these are not visible in this budget. I am very disappointed about that,“ she told new agency TT.

The only positives, as far as Ohlsson is concerned, are the provisions for the environment, research, infrastructure and foreign policy.

“But these need to be matched with decreases within agricultural and regional politics, which is actually two thirds of the total budget. This is an expansive EU budget and we can’t accept that,“ she said.

Ohlsson added that many EU countries have been struck hard by the financial crisis and have had to slash their welfare budgets.

“This must be reflected in the commission’s budget proposal,” Ohlsson told TT.

Jonas Sjöstedt, a former MEP representing the Left party on the Riksdag’s EU committee, thinks that the proposals take the EU one step closer towards the formation of a European state.

“This is the most provocative budget that the EU has ever proposed,“ he said to TT.

“Levying taxes is a core function of a state,” he said to news agency TT.

Sjöstedt is also critical of the hefty increase in expenses.

“EU needs to save and cut down the spending so that the countries have more funds for their social budgets,” he said.

According to Sjöstedt all the members of the committee, regardless of party origin, are in agreement on both the EU's right to taxation and increase in expenses.

“What is important now is to increase the pressure on (finance minister) Anders Borg to follow the British example and really put his foot down. He has a crystal clear mandate from all the Riksdag’s parties not to accept this,” he said.

EU commissioner Cecilia Malmström however has a more positive view of the budget proposal than the EU minister, although she concedes that the economic turbulence of the last few years should be reflected to the same degree in the EU budget as in the pockets of the Europeans.

“That is why we have tried to keep expenses down while adapting to the increase in the demands of the member states and the rest of the world on the EU to act on certain issues. This demands that the union has the practical and financial means to deliver,” she said in a statement.

Malmström is pleased with what is proposed within her own area of expertise – migration and combating crime - as well as research and infrastructure, but she is disappointed that there was no “significant modernizing of agriculture”.

Negotiations over the budget can expect to be a long, drawn out affair, as all member states must approve of the budget before it can be implemented.

TT/The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:27 June 30, 2011 by ooh456
If the EU needs money they should get a job like the rest of us. If we give them money they will just embezzle it and start wars.
12:31 June 30, 2011 by Nemesis
To the journalist writing this. If you are going to write a story about the EU, try using facts instead of nonsense from US conspiracy theorists.

Also Jonas Sjöstedt has a history of inflating claims about the EU and vehmently opposes EU membership.

The Left Party has made clear it supports Sweden becoming a communist state, complete nationalisation of all industries and recinding the right to own private property.

The history of the Left party does not bode well either. They supported the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. They applauded the former USSR for invading Poland in 1939 and considered Hitler's invasion of Norway to be a set back for western capitalism congratulating Hitler on his victory. The Left party supported the unprovoked attack by the Soviets on Finland in the Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940.

That is the people The Local decides to quote regarding the European Union.
13:50 June 30, 2011 by BrittInSweden
@Nemesis

Just because the Left party aren't the best of sources it doesn't make it any less news worthy of them giving their point of view.

Also you left out that the USSR was a defining factor in winning WWII. So the USSR wasn't all bad.
14:27 June 30, 2011 by Grävling
I also think that it comes down to a definition of what the EU actually is, and what it does. Considering they have just got a brand new building costing billions, I guess they are pretty skint and need a donation, maybe the EU needs to go onto Kickstarter?
15:18 June 30, 2011 by Grokh
What about the Moderaterna increasing their damm sallaries whenever they get the chance while at the same time kicking sick people out of their pensions to support their tax breaks + their own sallary increases ?

why isnt swedish media outragious about that aswell ?

bunch of idiotic politicians seem to forget they work for the people who they seem to be screwing over, just because they sell their asses to corporate.
17:40 June 30, 2011 by stenhuggaren
the EU minister is also quoted, Nemesis - Folk Party - what muck do you have on them?
18:00 June 30, 2011 by abraham lezama
@Grokh

Agree with you
19:29 June 30, 2011 by rohermoker
Iff we could just get the lazy people off welfare, and take wages that imigrants will accept for jobs that the natives wont, we could all compte with the lowest paying jobs in the world. Now if the rest of us will buy more of what dont want or need the rich can get richer--- a rising tide floats all yahts
14:56 July 1, 2011 by astra2thor6
It appears that most politicians and civil servants become devoid of realism once they begin working in the EU; their salaries are not taxed neither are their lavish expenses.

As an example of this lack of realism, Transparency International states that the east European member countries recently incorporated into the EU are corrupt, candidate countries are more corrupt, and the potential member countries are amongst the most corrupt in the world. Why have these nations been allowed to become EU members, and candidate and potential member countries been encouraged to join?

During the last month I sent an email to every EU department and organization asking what steps they had taken, during this period of economic stringency, to reduce their costs. None claimed to have made any savings and some said that they wanted to have their budgets increased!

Whilst Greece endures riots and violent demonstrations as a result of austere financial cuts to be imposed on its people; Ireland receives EU financial support, Spain and Portugal face economic melt down, and Britain has large numbers of people employed by the public authorities demonstrating London and other cities because of potential changes to their pensions, the EU asks for a 5% increase in its budget. It sounds like "Nero fiddles, whilst Rome burns!"

I would like to drive a Rolls Royce, have an apartment on the Riviera, and spend my winters in the Caribean, but I must live within my income. Why can't the EU reduce its budget and live within its income?
19:30 July 2, 2011 by old git
are they still maintaining their double parliaments in bussels and strasbourg?

eu employees-its the commission not the politicians- just keeping up their exhorbitantly wasteful budgets and privileges...
16:51 July 5, 2011 by astra2thor6
Old Git

You better believe that the EU Parliament still retains two work places viz Brussels and Strasbourg; it costs EU taxpayers over 85 million euros every year for the politicians to commute between these locations! I would like to arrange a demonstration by EU taxpayers outside the Parliament to protest about the profligate use of the EU budget, eg CAP (of which 40%% goes to French farmers).

Do any of you know of a protest website through which I could organize this protest? Or will I have to establish one myself?
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