It has been quite a budgetary week. On Monday I was in the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee and on Tuesday I spent the day in the EESC’s own Budget Group (see posts). Today, I spent an hour in the Council’s Budget Committee. The reason was a request that the Committee had put in to transfer 1 meuro out of a ‘reserve’ and onto a budgetary post so that the money could be spent. The money had been put in the reserve in the first place by the European Parliament’s Budgets Committee (and I will have to go there on the same subject next Tuesday). The Parliament had done this basically because it wanted the Committee to show that it could properly manage expenditure on this post which, since it is about our members’ allowances, is a sensitive one. A number of Member State delegations quite rightly pointed out that it was very, very early in the year for the Committee to be asking for such a transfer, particularly since, in comparative terms, it was quite large (since there is 15 meuro on the line, this transfer will represent an increase of one fifteenth). My counter-argument was that it was precisely because of the relative size of the amount involved that we needed to know we had got it as early as possible in the year so that we could indeed be sure to spend the money soundly and efficiently. The Presidency called for a vote and asked those against the request to raise their hands. Nobody did. Unanimity! The Committee had unanimously voted in favour of the transfer! This felt really good. It reminded me of those (rare!) moments at school where I knew I had done reasonably well in an exam but then, when the results came in, found I had got an A+ (OK; those moments were very rare!).
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