§ Mr. Couchman
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the recent meeting of the European Community's budget council.
§ Mr. Ryder
The Budget Council met in Brussels on 28 July. The Paymaster General represented the United Kingdom.
The Council established a first reading draft budget for 1990 totalling 48.19 becu (£30.7 billion) in commitment appropriations and 46.14 becu (£29.4 billion) in payment appropriations, respectively 708.3 mecu (£451.4 million) and 653.3 mecu (£416.4 million) below the figures proposed by the Commission in the preliminary draft budget (PDB).
The 1990 budget is the second to be subject to the arrangements for budgetary discipline arising from the 1988 European Council and the inter-institutional agreement between the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament which incorporates expenditure ceilings for 1988–92. The following table shows that the first reading draft budget is some way within those ceilings:
increase in appropriations for the structural funds agreed at the February 1988 Council and for research and development appropriations at a level consistent with the framework programme adopted in September 1987. As regards non-privileged DNO, the Budget Council reduced the proposed provision in the PDB by an amount sufficient to ensure that, for this category of expenditure, the growth of both payments and commitments was contained within half the maximum rate of 6.1 per cent. communicated by the Commission.
On 9 October, the ECOFIN Council established an amending letter to the PDB providing for economic restructuring aid to Poland and Hungary totalling 200 mecu. This expenditure is in excess of the relevant ceiling in the financial perspective (line 4 in the table) and, as a 123W temporary device pending the necessary revision of the perspective, the Council agreed to a corresponding negative reserve.
The European Parliament will consider the draft budget at its plenary session in the week beginning 24 October. The Parliament's amendments and modifications will be considered by the Budget Council on 14 November.