EU chief negotiator praises Gilmore's handling of budget talks

Friday 21 June 2013 20.34
French MEP Alain Lamassoure praised Eamon Gilmore's conduct of negotiations
French MEP Alain Lamassoure praised Eamon Gilmore's conduct of negotiations

The European Parliament's chief negotiator on the EU budget talks has issued a statement praising Eamon Gilmore's handling of the negotiations and defending the final negotiated deal.

His remarks follow criticism from a number of Irish and other MEPs directed at the Tánaiste over what they called his "manipulation" of the budget talks outcome.

That followed the resignation of one of the four MEP rapporteurs involved in the talks which took place in Brussels.

Alain Lamassoure MEP, the chief negotiator, countered the criticism saying that although the delegation of parliament negotiators were not in a position to agree the final text unanimously, he as chief negotiator was happy with it.

He said: "I want to praise Eamon Gilmore for the way he has conducted the negotiations regarding the multiannual financial framework from the side of the Irish Presidency.

"In these very difficult negotiations on the most important topic for the European Union in the coming years, he has shown a great capacity for listening and he has shown proof of full loyalty towards his counterparts."

Mr Lamassoure added: "The delegation of parliament was not in a position to accept the outcome, given the differences expressed by representatives of different political groups in parliament.

"As lead negotiator, I will present the agreed text to the parliament and I will personally defend it."

Member states agreed the terms of the EU's €960 billion budget which will govern income and expenditure between 2014 and 2020, in February. But, since the Lisbon Treaty, the budget must also secure the support of the European Parliament.

Following the agreement the German MEP Reiner Boege resigned from the negotiating team, saying the deal as announced was "nothing more than a manipulation."

However, Mr Lamassoure said the representatives from the different political groups can express their views in a way that allows the political leadership in parliament to give a response to the Irish Presidency.

The government will seek to have 27 member states sign off on the final deal at a meeting of ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday.