EU top official: Budget cuts are’Hard pill to swallow’

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s top official said Thursday that proposed cuts within the upcoming long-term multi-billion budget of that 27-nation bloc are a”hard pill to swallow.”

At a speech delivered to European lawmakers, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confessed that the funding for another seven years embraced this week following a four-day EU leaders summit comprises several inadequacies.

The funding value 1.07 trillion ($1.2 trillion) has been negotiated in tandem with a 750 billion-euro ($868 billion) economic recovery package that aims to assist EU nations to bounce back in the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hailed as a”historical” moment for Europe by several EU leaders, the bargain has raised concerns among European lawmakers, who contested its lack of vision from the context of this financial crisis triggered by the virus.

The last vote on the budget in the EU Parliament isn’t expected to occur before the close of the year.

Von der Leyen explained the agreement reached this week after a marathon summit proved to be the”light at the end of the tunnel. However, the light also includes a shadow. And in this scenario, the shadow comes from the kind of a rather thin long term EU budget”

Many reductions were agreed to under pressure from several nations led by the Netherlands called the”Frugals,” that were offered big reductions to their gifts into the bloc’s funding to procure a bargain.

“You will find painful decisions on a lot of programs that have crucial European added values,” explained von der Leyen. She deplored the absence of funds for programs allowed for study, wellness, and investment, in addition to the restricted size of their funding for programs beyond the EU.

“Yes, we all managed to prevent even further reductions as some member countries desired. But this (funding ) is a challenging pill to swallow.”