Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon has welcomed the news of a political deal that will give Europe the flexibility to spend a smaller budget better and looks to focus on job creation and growth over the next 7 years.
The EU Commission President confirmed this morning that agreement had been reached between the EU Parliament and Council on the final details of the EU’s 2014-2020 budget.
Mr Lyon, who is vice-President of the Budgets Committee in the European Parliament, commented:
“Since the start of this process, Liberal Democrats in Brussels have fought for a smaller EU budget that can be spent more effectively. As a result of this deal, there will not only be a 3% cut to the EU’s long-term budget, but greater flexibility to focus spending on creating jobs and growth.
“Tackling youth unemployment, helping small businesses and boosting research on innovation will all be prioritised under the new framework, complementing the campaign by Liberal Democrats to create a million more jobs over the coming years. While the fine print still has to be ironed out, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for a deal that will deliver vital EU investment to businesses and communities across the UK.”
Mr Lyon added that it looked like UK universities and research centres are set to be the big winners in the 7-year EU budget after reports of an increase in funding for research and development, but warned of a tough transition to the new programme, with the Commission threatening to initially reduce spending with the promise of larger increases in the future.
Notes to editors:
Under the EU 2014-2020 budget deal, funding for the ‘Competitiveness for Growth and Jobs” heading – which includes research and development funding and capital investment projects – will see an increase of 37% compared to the existing budget. This includes 70.2 billion euros for the Horizon 2020 research programme, of which universities and research institutes in the UK are some of the biggest recipients.
The deal will also see up to 2.54 billion euros frontloaded to 2014 and 2015, where it will be prioritised on projects to tackle youth unemployment, strengthen research and boost SMEs. This will complement efforts by the Liberal Democrats in government to create 1.2 million apprentices and 110,000 work placements for young people out of work since 2010.