Monday 18 May 2009

Another glimpse into the Council's budget committee

It is the second time this year (here is the first time) that Martin Westlake, blogging Secretary General of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), allows us a glimpse into the Council's budget committee:
"I spent most of the afternoon in less comfortable surroundings; defending the Committee’s draft 2010 budget before the Council’s Budget Committee. These annual hearings with the other institutions, chaired by the future Swedish Presidency (since the final budget will be adopted during their mandate), are something of a ritualistic occasion. [...]

National treasuries had clearly been given tough instructions. As I sat down I could hear blades being sharpened and blow torches being lit and the occasional thud of a baseball bat in glove. [...]

It’s not easy for the smaller institutions and maybe particularly difficult for the two consultative committees. They are not big and indispensable like the European Commission and certainly not big enough to undertake major redeployment exercises without prejudicing vital functions. They don’t have a gentlemen’s agreement, as the Council and the Parliament do, not to look into each others’ administrative budgets. [...]

One [member state; JF] delegate referred to a sort of inverted beauty contest, with delegates competing to declare which of the two Committees is the uglier, but the Committees themselves are certainly not competing with each other in this way. [...]
Sounds like the member states are not big friends of the EESC and the Committee of the Regions (CoR).


Ralf Grahn said...

The public talk is usually on how the budget is (and will be under Lisbon) decided by the European Parliament.

Correct, in a way, but the Council is seldom mentioned, nor is the long term budget essentially agreed between the heads of state or government.