EU Commission wants budget increase amid crisis

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission, the executive body of the 27-country European Union, is seeking an increase in its budget at a time when the region's financial crisis is forcing member states to tighten their belts and cut costs.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday he was seeing a 6.8 percent increase in payments to meet earlier financial commitment and spur on growth and jobs across the 27-nation area.

Barroso said "the EU budget is the instrument for investment." But his proposal for the 2012 budget immediately ran into criticism that while member states are told by the EU institutions to buckle down, the Commission itself is seeking to live larger.

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