EU’s long-term budget: more flexibility to help tackle crises

MEPs are pushing for a flexible long-term budget for the EU to enable it to successfully meet unforeseen challenges. This is reflected in new agreement between the Parliament and EU countries, which is paving the way for the EU to respond better to crises related to for example security, migration or natural disasters.

Having a budget that is set for seven year makes it difficult for the EU to adequately respond to unexpected crisis. This is why the Parliament insisted on a revision clause in the agreement for the current long-term budget, also known as the multiannual financial framework. Having this clause means the European Commission is able to review the budget at mid-term and propose changes as needed.

On 27 March Parliament’s budget committee adopted its recommendation on how to update the budget after a deal was reached with EU countries a couple of weeks ago.

Polish EPP member Jan Olbrycht and French S&D member Isabelle Thomas are dealing with the revision on behalf of the Parliament. Olbrycht told us that the Parliament has shown that this revision was necessary and that the EU can’t have “a fixed budget system for seven years”.

The Polish MEP said that when an unforeseen crisis occurs, the new budget system enables countries to contribute more to the budget, should they wish to tackle the crisis at EU level.

Thomas added: “There are discrepancies between big announced policies when it comes to migration, security, investment, youth compared to the very tiny budget.”

In addition to updating the system for the budget, the Parliament and member states also agreed to back a Commission proposal to use an additional €6 billion  to boost growth, create jobs, tackle the migration crisis and strengthen security the coming years.

The two MEPs dealing with the long-term budget expect to publish their position paper on what the next budget should look like as early as this November.

Next steps

MEPs vote on the revised regulation in plenary on 5 April. The Council will also need to adopt it by a unanimous vote before it can enter into force.