MEPs debate recovery fund, condemn major cuts to long-term EU budget #MFF #NextGenerationEU

MEPs stressed that Council’s recent proposals did not go far enough to create a practical instrument linking the EU’s funds to the respect of rule of law.

In Monday´s plenary debate, most MEPs criticised the Council’s position on the “rule of law conditionality mechanism” adopted last week, saying it did not create an instrument that could ever be triggered in practice. With continued violations of rule of law and corruption in some EU countries, the EU owed it to its citizens and taxpayers to effectively protect the EU budget. Some even called on the EU to stop financing breaches of fundamental rights in the member states.

The German presidency of the Council and the European Commission were blamed by some MEPs for creating an ideology that would allow individual member states to be attacked.

Michael Roth of the Council presidency highlighted the fact that the Council and the Parliament were finally in agreement on the need for such an instrument, with all of the EU countries on board with the current proposal, and now had the unique opportunity to create its content together. He asked for Parliament’s help in moving the legislators’ positions closer to each other, and expressed his hope that Parliament would support the instrument’s rapid adoption.

Negotiations on the next long-term EU budget and Own Resources continue

Also on Monday, the members of the Parliament’s negotiating team on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and Own Resources (OR) sat together with the Council of the EU for a sixth round of talks on the next EU long-term budget and new sources of EU revenue. They did not reach a breakthrough, neither on the issue of top-ups for 15 EU flagship programmes, nor on other issues.

Many highlighted that the question of reimbursing the debt was not resolved. MEPs insisted that the burden must not fall on the citizens, and that a robust system of new own resources including a digital tax or levies on carbon for the repayment must be guaranteed, with a binding calendar. Furthermore, many underlined that “the EU is not a cash machine for national budgets”, deploring that “frugal” countries do not want to pay the price for benefiting from the single market, and insisting that no funds should go to “pseudo-democratic” governments which do not respect the rule of law and EU values.

Others were more sceptical about new own resources generating enough to repay all the debt and warned that the crisis should not be used as a pretext for further EU integration. Most however stressed that Parliament is ready for swift negotiations to make the necessary improvements to the Council’s common position.

MEPs now vote on a resolution to wind up the debate, which will serve as a mandate for the upcoming negotiations with the German Presidency of the Council of the EU.

EU Heads of State or Government reached a political agreement on the future design of EU finances. The next step involves negotiations between Parliament, whose consent is required for the adoption of the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF), and Council. In an extraordinary part-session two days later, Parliament is expected to vote on a motion for a resolution that confirms Parliament’s readiness to enter immediately into negotiations to improve the deal and sets out conditions for its consent to the MFF.