EC proposes to use unspent farm subsidies on economic recovery

15:08, 11 December 2008
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The European Commission proposed on Wednesday to use five billion euros (6.5 billion U.S. dollars) of the European Union (EU)`s unspent farm budget on economic recovery by investing in energy and broadband projects, according to Xinhua.

    The proposal uses part of the financial margins available in the EU budget under agriculture for 2008 and 2009, and shifts them to the budget for trans-European energy interconnections and broadband infrastructure investment in 2009 and 2010.

    This means using funds that would otherwise remain unspent, while staying within the overall ceiling of the EU budget, said the Commission, adding the money will help improve energy supply security and boost the number of faster Internet connections in the EU.

    "Today`s proposal is about creating a more competitive, low-carbon economy, putting a much needed five billion euros into European energy interconnections and faster Internet, helping to boost economic recovery in the EU," said Dalia Grybauskaite, EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget.

    The Commission proposed in November a 200-billion-euro economic recovery plan, including 14.4 billion euros from the EU budget. The five billion euros are sought as part of the EU contribution.

    Grybauskaite called on EU governments and the European Parliament to endorse the proposal without delay.

    EU leaders are due to meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, focusing on the Commission`s economic recovery plan.

    The Commission had previously proposed to use the unspent EU farm subsidies on food support to developing countries, but was opposed by member states. (1 U.S. dollar = 0.774 euro)

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