Our contribution to Europe will rise by €40m next year
IRELAND'S contribution to the EU budget is to inch up by around €40m next year.
A vote passed by the European Parliament yesterday will see the bloc's total spending boosted by €4bn next year to around €126bn.
The vote was finally passed after months of infighting between MEPs and national governments. MEPs wanted to inflate expenditure by 6.9pc, but were blocked by national governments anxious for the EU to reflect the slash-and-burn fiscal policies they are currently inflicting on their electorates.
"The agreement on next year's budget. . . shows that our national governments and the European Parliament can resolve their differences for the greater good of half-a-billion Europeans," the bloc's budget chief Janusz Lewandowski said.
Agreement was made possible after the EU executive tabled amendments to its initial proposal, which were agreed by EU ministers last week.
MEPs backed down on the 6.9pc figure after receiving assurances that cash would be ring-fenced for education and research, with a 10pc increase in aid to Europe's poorest regions.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Brian Cowen will attend a summit of EU leaders today where he will sign off on minor changes to the Lisbon Treaty just one year after it came into force.
The amendments will allow eurozone governments to set up a new bailout fund when the current €440bn facility runs out in mid-2013.