EU’s long-term budget: MEPs vote for more headroom to cope with crises
The EU needs to update its long-term financial plan to cope with unforeseen crises said MEPs in their vote on its forthcoming review, on Wednesday. MEPs acknowledged that the Commission’s proposal to revise the multiannual financial framework (MFF) genuinely responds to requests in Parliament’s negotiating stance, adopted in July, for more flexibility and an EU crisis reserve. However, they were disappointed that resources remain unchanged.
Parliament asks that the EU's long-run budget, the multiannual financial framework (MFF), be revised for a reason, namely based on a review of the functioning of the current MFF. We are pleased to see that the Commission shares our assessment and sees the need to revise the MFF”, said Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL) the lead MEP. The resolution was passed by 446 votes to 181, with 60 abstentions.
The proposed package includes financial top-ups in response to EU priorities, which are also partly reflected already in the 2017 budget, as well as changes to the provisions of the MFF regulation itself. Parliament is ready to enter into talks with the Council immediately, and is very eager to reach an agreement on a budget that works well for the remaining four years of this MFF”, he added
“After the vote on our report in July, the European Commission proposed a revision largely based on flexibility tools, with no revision of budgetary ceilings, which is nonetheless necessary. We have agreed that the MFF revision and the 2017 budget must be negotiated together. The Council must now adopt a position for the MFF revision quickly, in order to move forward the negotiations”, said the other lead MEP, Isabelle Thomas (S&D, FR).
“We are determined that the inter-institutional negotiations have to move forward quickly to avoid the budgetary crisis which threatens the Union “, she added
Resources insufficient to deal with challenges
The multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 does not suffice to enable the EU to deal with the many new crises and priorities that have emerged in recent years and to fulfil its long-term objectives and political commitments. The EU’s budget must be made more flexible to enable it to respond promptly to challenges such as the migration and refugee crisis, terrorism and internal security issues, the crisis in agriculture or persistently high unemployment, especially among young people, says the resolution.
MEPs suggest that every euro committed in the EU budget should be used, and any surplus should remain in the budget to address priorities and avoid building up a backlog of unpaid bills, as happened under the previous MFF.
Parliament’s response to revision proposals
Parliament’s July suggestion that a permanent EU crisis reserve should be created within the EU budget, to avoid ad hoc solutions such as the setting up of “off budget” trust funds, was included in the Commission’s September proposal, but MEPs insist that this reserve must be properly funded.
MEPs also welcomed the Commission’s intention to simplify the financial rules, but regret that it did not propose to increase the overall budget ceilings to permit a sustainable response to current needs.
The MFF revision should also lead to commitments on post 2020 rules, said MEPs, such as the reform of own resources system or the phasing out all forms of rebate.
The resolution stresses that modifications agreed during the MFF mid-term revision should be integrated in the EU’s 2017 budget. MEPs urge the Council to respond to Commission proposal and open negotiations with Parliament, so that an agreement on both the 2017 budget and the MFF revision can be reached before the end of 2016.
Source: European Parliament