“The Council's position to only finance the refugee crisis if cuts are made in lines and programmes designed to boost employment is unacceptable”, said Co-Rapporteur José Manuel Fernandes MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the Budgets Committee, reacting to the Conciliation Committee meeting between the Council and the European Parliament on the 2016 EU budget, which held its first meeting on 9 November.

The EPP Group stands for a strong budget that effectively responds to the migration and refugee crisis but also to promote employment across the EU.

“The Council cannot use refugees as a pretext to cut EU policies and programmes. We have an obligation to solve the refugee crisis - they are the victims and not to blame!” protested Mr Fernandes. He added: “The extraordinary refugee crisis advocates the need for additional financing and the need for full flexibility, justifying the utilisation of the Contingency Margin, which will amount to €4400 million in 2016.”

“The Council needs to accept its responsibilities and respect its commitments. Only then will an agreement be easily reached in conciliation”, concluded Fernandes.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 216 Members from 27 Member States

On 29 October 2015, a three-week conciliation period started during which 28 members from the European Parliament and the Council aim to reach a deal on the EU budget for 2016.

According to the Lisbon Treaty, if the 21-day conciliation period finishes on the 18 November without a deal, the European Commission will have to propose a new draft budget that will need to be adopted by 1 January 2016.

If no deal is reached, a sum equivalent to not more than one twelfth of the budget appropriations for 2015 or of the draft budget proposed by the Commission, whichever is smaller, may be spent for each chapter of the budget during each month of 2016.

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