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European Commission


Brussels, 20 September 2012

President Barroso pushes for further simplification of the EU budget

President Barroso wrote the following letter to Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, and to Mr Andreas Mavroyiannis, Cypriot Deputy Minister for European Affairs, to draw their attention to the first Simplification Scoreboard of the Commission and to express serious concerns about some elements in the on-going legislative process that, if confirmed by the legislator, could undermine the overall objective of simplification.

"Dear President of the European Parliament,

Dear Minister,

Let me start by thanking you for your important and strong contributions to our meeting on 19 September when we together with President van Rompuy and President Christofias met to discuss the way ahead towards reaching agreement on the MFF 2014-2020.

With a view to further facilitating progress in the MFF negotiations, I would herewith like to bring another important element to your attention. In June 2011 when the Commission published its Communication on "A budget for Europe 2020"1 we highlighted the need for much greater simplification in the way the budget is administered. This is essential to improve delivery of the EU budget and to allow those who benefit from the EU budget to concentrate on results rather than being tied up in complicated administrative procedures. In February this year, the Commission took stock of its simplification proposals, embedded within the Financial Regulation and the fifty-seven proposed legislative acts for the next multiannual financial framework, in a dedicated Communication on simplification2.

Today the Commission adopted its first Simplification Scoreboard (COM(2012) 531). The Scoreboard recognises the progress made in the legislative process, particularly in relation to the review of the Financial Regulation. However, it also sets out our serious concerns about elements that, if confirmed by the legislator, could undermine the overall objective of simplification.

In particular, the Commission is concerned by the heaviness of some decision-making mechanisms introduced into the legal bases by the European Parliament and the Council. While we support the need for appropriate controls, we see a sometimes excessive level of detail in the breakdown of budget appropriations or in the legal instruments themselves. You will find in the attached Scoreboard more details on these issues.

I know that you share our wish to deliver a modern and streamlined future budget for the EU. I would be grateful if you would draw the attention of, respectively, the sectoral committees of the European Parliament and the sectoral working groups in the Council responsible for the different MFF-related instruments, to this important aspect of the legislative work.

Representatives of the Commission in the different institutions will be very happy to explain these issues in more details and to co-operate with the European Parliament and Council in their legislative work in order to ensure that the common goal of simplification is achieved. With your help, there is still time to return to more simplified proposals during the co-decision process which, I believe, would improve both the efficiency of our delivery and the image of the EU with our citizens.

José Manuel BARROSO"

1 :

COM (2011) 500 final

2 :

COM(2012) 42 final

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