The European Parliament has given on Tuesday final approval to the EU’s long-term budget for 2014-2020, the BBC reports. The 960bn-euro budget cuts real spending for the first time. The real-terms cut of 3.5 percent – or 35bn euros – particularly affects EU spending on Europe’s poorer regions, a policy area called “cohesion”. There was no cut in EU funds for research, humanitarian aid and border controls. In future it will be easier to switch funds between budget areas. The budget – called the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) – was adopted by 537 votes to 126. Most of the opposition came from Eurosceptics, the European Left bloc and the Greens.
A political deal on the MFF was reached with EU governments in June, but MEPs bargained for certain conditions, which were finally included in the plan: greater flexibility on switching budget funds; EU to retain unspent budget funds, extra money for 2013 to cover outstanding bills in the current EU budget and a review of the EU’s “own income” resources.