EU chief Verhofstadt torn apart in scathing rant as MEP warns 'we must not fear conflict'

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Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts hit out furiously at EU chiefs during a Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, for not “standing firm” to their values. MEPs met to kick off discussions on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the long-term framework regulating how much each member state has to contribute to the common budget over a seven-year period. Former Prime Minister David Cameron succeeded in having the Commission agree to cut their 2014-2020 MFF prospectus in a bid to soothe Eurospetics in Britain, but the allowance came back to bite the EU Council as the session descended into a civil war.

Mr Lamberts told the Parliament: “I was here seven years ago, and at the time I listened to Joseph Daul, Guy Verhofstadt and Martin Schulz saying ‘over our dead bodies, we will never accept an MFF which is lower for the period up to 2020 than it was for the previous MFF.

“What happened at the end of the day was that they actually accepted what they said they would never accept.

“So I would just urge all of us to be consistent, to stand firm.

“If Council’s proposal, after the extraordinary summit, doesn’t meet our expectations then we shouldn’t be afraid of conflict.”

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EU chief Verhofstadt torn apart in scathing rant as MEP warns 'we must not fear conflict'

Lamberts lashes out at EU chiefs for ‘accepting what they would never accept’ (Image: EPTV)

EU chief Verhofstadt torn apart in scathing rant as MEP warns 'we must not fear conflict'

eu news Philippe Lamberts european budget mff news (Image: EPTV)

He continued: “It’s only when both institutions agree that the budget has passed.

“We don’t just sign off on Council decision, and Mr Michel should have been here to listen to that.”

European Council President Charles Michel was heavily criticised for skipping the debate on the EU budget despite the institution being in charge of the draft budget.

Mr Lamberts also said: “The budget is a tool. We can discuss the size, but a hammer is a hammer.”

EU chief Verhofstadt torn apart in scathing rant as MEP warns 'we must not fear conflict'

eu news Philippe Lamberts european budget mff news (Image: EPTV)

He added: “We have to ensure coherence in the EU budget that is in line with our environmental goals.

“Just because the Council approves something, doesn’t mean the Parliament has to.

“We have to remember the link between the budget and respect for EU values.”

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EU chief Verhofstadt torn apart in scathing rant as MEP warns 'we must not fear conflict'

Growth rates in individual Euro area countries in the second quarter of 2019 (Image: EXPRESS)

EU member states are split on how to best bridge the funding gap Britain left in the budget after Brexit.

Northern European members like Austria, Denmark and Germany could see their annual contribution to the MFF increase dramatically over the next seven years.

The current proposals, Germany’s payments would increase from €16billion (13.5billion) to €26billion (£22.8billion).

The Netherlands and Austria would also see their contributions double to €8billion (£6.7billion) and €2billion (£1.7billion) respectively.

Earlier this week European Council President Charles Michel met with EU negotiations to discuss their priorities for the budget, which will determine spending from 2021-27, ahead of next week’s plenary on the matter.


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