This article analyses the proposed reform of the annual budgetary procedure of the European Union (EU) during the 2002–04 Convention and Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). We offer two findings. First, the European Parliament already has the power to reduce agricultural and fisheries spending subject to support from a blocking minority in the Council. Hence, a reduction of the Union’s spending on agriculture and other areas of compulsory expenditure is not dependent on a reform of the budgetary procedure. Second, the proposal from the Convention would have increased EP budgetary powers while the procedure adopted by the IGC strengthens the hand of the Council, removing Parliament’s right to overrule it. In constitutional bargaining, we see that Parliament gains in a deliberative forum where unanimity is not required, while it loses in a closed IGC.