October 23, 2019 / 1:06 PM / 2 months ago

EU legislators split over 2020 budget, risk funding delays

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union governments on Wednesday rejected EU lawmakers’ plans to increase the bloc’s spending next year, sparking a row that could delay funding on climate and research projects.

Tussles over the EU budget are frequent between parliamentarians, who usually push for higher expenditures, and governments which instead try to keep a lid on them.

The parliament agreed on Wednesday to raise EU payments next year to 159.1 billion euros - an amount that EU states said went beyond ceilings previously agreed.

Among proposed changes, lawmakers voted to increase by more than 2 billion euros (1.7 billion pounds) EU spending to counter climate change in 2020, compared to earlier proposals made by the EU executive commission.

Lawmakers and governments’ representatives will now begin talks to try to bridge differences.

If no compromise is found by mid-November, the Commission will have to present a new draft budget, risking delays to projects funded with EU money, from aid to the bloc’s poorest regions to initiatives to create jobs.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; Editing by Francesco Guarascio and Alison Williams

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