Plans to increase the European Union budget by more than five per cent - despite the financial crisis ravaging the continent - were condemned today by Conservative MEP for London Marina Yannakoudakis as economic madness.
Marina argued forcefully today for a freeze in the European Union’s budget, to reflect the austerity measures being implemented by domestic governments across the continent.

Despite the eurozone crisis, the European Parliament was expected to vote today in favour of a 5.23 per cent increase in the EU’s spending next year to EUR 133 billion (GBP 116 billion), as well as an extra 3.95 per cent in spending commitments above those set in 2011.

But in the budget debate, Tory MEPs argued forcefully for an overall budget freeze, and tabled a string of amendments to achieve that.

The proposed measures included:
•Value for money, with all programmes and expenditure to be carefully analysed for viability, efficiency and effectiveness
•Budgetary restraint in times of ongoing national consolidation efforts.
•Any increases to be offset with cuts from other areas of the budget.

Marina supported calls for a freeze in pay for MEPs and backed an amendment expressing disappointment that too little was done to trim allowances.

Conservative MEPs also proposed reductions to interpretation and translation which would save EUR 27 million (GBP 23.5 million).

Marina said: “When the rest of world is forced to make cuts, for Europe to demand more and more taxpayers’ money is economic madness.

“I am doing all I can to fight for a budget freeze. Unfortunately it seems the majority of MEPs want to press ahead to build an ever-bigger European bureaucracy and to protect their own salaries and benefits - and they have no shame over sending ordinary taxpayers the bill.”

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