Commission must think again over budget-hike demand

Conservative MEPs today urged the EU Commission to “think again” after it submitted a budget proposals which would see EU spending grow next year.

Tory budget spokesman Richard Ashworth said Budgets Commissioner Janus Lewandowski needed to reconsider, re-prioritise and reduce his planned spending commitments.

He was speaking after the commissioner published demands for a 2.1 per cent increase in spending commitments next year, coupled with a 1.3 per cent increase in actual payments. Critics said the proposal cut across the historic cut to the EU’s long-term budget negotiated by David Cameron and Conservative MEPs last year.

Mr Ashworth said: “We know that margins are tight and that means the EU budget must be subject to increasing rigour.

“The increase suggested by the Commission this year, compared to previous requests, is much lower and below the rate of inflation in the UK. However, the new pressure should lead the new Commission and Parliament to address is the way in which the whole EU budget works. They need to think again.

“We need to ensure that funding goes only to the poorest regions and must ask ourselves if spending large amounts of money in richer areas is needed. If suspect the answer is that instead we can make further savings.

” In addition, we need to look at the Common Agricultural Policy and how this money I spent – to ensure that it goes to making our farming industry more competitive in a global market.”

A thank you to the people of South East England for my new mandate in Brussels

The following is a local letter sent to regional media in South East England on 2 June 2014

The people of South East of England have voted and I am grateful to have a mandate to serve and represent all the people of this important area of the British Isles in the European Parliament for another 4 years.

The frustration and anger felt by the electorate is something I am acutely aware of and also hold the same feelings when only in my first days back in Parliament the European Commission is trying to undermine David Cameron’s historic budget cut by demanding an extra £500 million from British taxpayers to meet Brussels spending bills this year.

This early assault by the EU underlines shows how important it is for the UK to have MEPs present in Brussels and ready to act and represent and fight for the national interest.

The mandate I have from the people of the South East England is to make Europe work better for the UK, and ensure that economic recovery inspired by prudent economic management by Chancellor George Osborne is not hampered by Brussels regulations and other unnecessary EU red tape.