The prime ministers of nine EU member states and Croatia, which is set to join the EU next year, will meet in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Friday, Ocotber 5, to jointly speak out against a reduction of the EU budget for the seven year period between 2014 to 2020. Six other countries will be represented at this meeting within the informal group called Friends of Cohesion, by cabinet ministers and state secretaries. The event will also be attended by the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico informed the SITA newswire on
Monday, October 1.
"I can confirm that present at the Friends of Cohesion meeting on Friday will be the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia," said Fico. Representatives of 15 countries want to sign a joint declaration calling on the European Commission to mobilise all the instruments supporting economic growth. Fico pointed out that Slovakia draws a lot of money from EU funds, so there must be awareness of how the next EU budget will look. "In past years, up to 76 percent of all public investment in Slovakia was financed from EU funds," he stressed.
As for the next budget, the EU is now divided into countries that are net payers and demand a reduction of the budget, and countries that maintain that the budget as proposed by the EC is well balanced. According to Fico, the net payers further argue that if the budget is to be reduced, then it is to be done at the expense of a cohesion policy, i.e., a policy of mitigating disparities between EU regions. The Friends of Cohesion meeting in Bratislava will specifically speak out against this. The informal group Friends of Cohesion consists of 15 EU member states: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. Croatia's accession to the EU is expected on July 1, 2013 after ratification of the Accession Treaty by all members of the EU.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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