The European Parliament’s Women’s Rights Committee today voted on its opinion the EU’s 2013 draft budget. As part of the budgetary scrutiny procedure, Conservative MEP for London Marina Yannakoudakis submitted amendments which would remove all funding for the European Institute for Gender Equality.

The EU funding allocation to the European Institute of Gender Equality was €5.9 million (£4.7m) in 2012. The Commission had proposed an inflation-busting increase to the budget of 7.1% for 2013, with the EU Member States revising the increase down to 6.6%. Mrs. Yannakoudakis’ proposals would see have seen no funding allocated to the institute in 2013.

Marina said: “The 52 EU agencies are costing the EU taxpayer over €3 billion (£2.37bn) a year with the UK contributing more than 10% of that total. Many of these agencies are inefficient, unnecessary and unaccountable.

“In order to reflect the cuts being made to national budgets, we need to make radical reductions in EU spending. I am determined to root out waste in the European institutions and in May I called for a ‘bonfire of the EU quangos’ starting with the European Institute of Gender Equality.

The European Institute of Gender Equality duplicates the work of EU Member States, the work of the European Commission’s DG Employment, and the work of another EU agency: the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. Its statistics-gathering functions could easily be taken over by the commission’s Eurostat directorate-general.

“I recently visited the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki and was shocked to discover that an agency set up to manage the administrative aspects of the REACH chemical registration system will not be wound down at the end of the registration period. Instead the Commission has given the agency new competences in the field of biocides. The agency recruited two new senior officials to deal with biocides just this year. Their annual salaries are in excess of €120,000 (£94,000) per person.

“There are two EU agencies dealing with training, two which focus on working conditions, two agencies working on food safety and two agencies dealing with fundamental rights. This bald-faced duplication is shameless. We must urgently seek to abolish a great number of these EU quangos and to seek efficiency savings from the rest.”

London Labour MEP Mary Honeyball submitted an amendment calling for the gender institute’s 7.7% budget increase to be maintained.

Marina said: “As usual, ‘cuts’ is an offensive four-letter word to Labour politicians. Mary Honeyball’s call for an above-inflation increase for an institute which offers no added-value to the hard-pressed taxpayer is an insult to Londoners.”

Mrs. Yannakoudakis’ amendments were rejected by the committee.