MEPs back budget flexibility: €6bn more for jobs, growth and tackling migration

Plans to make it easier to move money around within the EU’s long-run budget, to help tackle urgent challenges such as the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs, were backed by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs have long fought for greater flexibility within the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), which would apply for the remainder of the 2014-2020 MFF.

“Parliament rightly advocated a revision of the multiannual financial framework to meet the new challenges the European Union is facing. Although our ambition for the extent of the changes was not fully met, we can be pleased with the result. We won the first-ever revision of the MFF, which will guarantee a better budgetary system for the remainder of the current period. We created more space for manoeuvre to respond to new challenges. We also ensured extra budgetary means for some EU programmes and policies: €6 bn will provide additional support for SMEs, research, Erasmus +, to create jobs for young people and to enhance the security of our citizens”, said co-rapporteur Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL).

“We welcome the revision voted, which provides, inter alia, an additional €1.2 billion to tackle youth unemployment by 2020. It is only a step, but a step in the right direction. However, it should have gone even further, which we will endeavour to do in the future budget negotiations”, said co-rapporteur Isabelle Thomas (S&D, FR).

The resulting top-ups, detailed in a joint statement of the European Parliament and the Council, amounting to €6,009 million (15% redeployments, 85% unallocated resources), will be distributed as follows:

  • €3.9 billion for migration-related measures inside the EU (€2.55bn) and for tackling the root causes of migration externally (€1.39bn);
  • €2.1 billion for jobs and growth, the bulk of which will boost the Youth Employment Initiative with €1.2bn for 2017-2020. The remaining funds are reserved for transport infrastructure, research programmes, SME support and Erasmus+.

In another adjoining statement by Parliament alone, MEPs made clear, however, that the amounts indicated in the €6bn package are “reference amounts to be examined in the context of the annual budgetary procedure, taking due account of the concrete circumstances of each annual budget”.

A more flexible budget

In essence, the draft regulation amends the MFF regulation of 2013 to strengthen various flexibility provisions and special instruments, which will allow more funds to be shifted more easily between budget chapters and years. The aim is to increase the capacity of the EU budget to address unforeseen events and new priorities, against a backdrop of persistent challenges inside and outside the EU. More information in the background briefing.

Next steps

The revised MFF still needs to be formally adopted by the Council by a unanimous vote.