Parliament votes to boost funding for EIT and Galileo
The European Parliament has voted to boost funding for the European Institute of Technology (EIT) and Galileo, the European satellite navigation system, at its first reading vote on the draft
budget for 2008.
The MEPs voted to reverse over ?1.5 billion of cuts made by the Council to payments under the headings 1a (competitiveness, growth, employment) and 1b (cohesion). In particular, the Parliament
is keen to boost funding for Galileo and the EIT, and therefore voted to set aside an additional ?739 million for the financing of these two projects. The Parliament supports the Commission’s
proposal to revise the financial perspectives to ensure both Galileo and the EIT receive adequate funding over the 2007 to 2013 period.
Like the European Commission, the Parliament believes that Galileo should be funded entirely by the Community, and MEPs regard the amount proposed by the Council in its first reading (?151
million) to be ‘utterly inadequate’. The parliamentarians are concerned that, without sufficient funding, the Galileo project could fail.
Meanwhile the Parliament proposed a figure of ?2.9 million for the funding of the EIT board and a new budget line for the Knowledge and Innovation Communities. Like other EU agencies, the EIT’s
administrative budget would be separate from its operational budget, which would be transferred form the ‘education and culture’ heading to ‘research and innovation’.
The Parliament and Council will meet on 23 November for a second conciliation meeting, with a view to reaching an agreement before the second reading. There is still disagreement within the
Council regarding the additional money for Galileo. If the Parliament and Council cannot come to an agreement on funding for the satellite navigation system, MEPs would prefer to see the funds
earmarked for Galileo transferred to other projects, such as Lifelong Learning or Trans-European Networks.
The 2008 EU budget is due to be approved and signed in December in Strasbourg.