“Youth unemployment is the biggest challenge in Europe right now. That is why – on Thursday – I will propose a new youth employment initiative of several billions of euros. This money will be targeted to the most afflicted regions, to get young people back into jobs,” said Van Rompuy yesterday.
He also said that the EU budget for 2014 – 2020 must be an “engine for growth” and that increasing spending on research, innovation and education was important.
However, the European Council President acknowledged that it was important for the EU budget to reflect the efforts national government are making to reduce spending. “We need more value for our money,” said Van Rompuy. He named the new plan “a budget of moderation” and pointed out that for the first time there would be a real term cut in spending.
The cuts seem to be an attempt to appease Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, which have raised determined opposition to any increase in the EU budget. Despite the proposed cuts, reaching an agreement promises to be difficult, on the strength of the previous EU summits. “To achieve a deal in the European Council this week, all leaders will need to be ready to compromise and and to make choices.”
EU leaders will meet tomorrow to discuss the budget 2014 – 2020. After an agreement at the summit has been reached, the European Parliament will have to pass the new budget.
Liam Lever, email@example.com
photo source: europa.eu