On Tuesday, MEPs set out their position on the reform of the EU’s long-term budget, emphasizing the urgency of future-proofing the EU budget.
Following the Commission’s proposal for a mid-term revision on the EU’s long-term budget, MEPs in plenary endorsed an extra €10 billion for the years 2024-2027, on top of the €65.8 billion proposed by the Commission.
Addressing pressing challenges
In light of recent external challenges, especially the Russian war against Ukraine and growing migration issues, MEPs bolstered the relevant budgetary areas by €2 billion. They have allocated an additional €3 billion towards the new “Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform” (STEP) and earmarked €5 billion to enhance the EU’s ability to respond to unforeseen crises.
As for the debt payments resulting from the Recovery plan, MEPs demand that they be positioned above the EU’s budgetary caps. This is to ensure that EU programmes directly benefiting citizens are not compromised, especially given the potential volatility of these costs with rising interest rates.
MEPs stress that a swift adoption of the amended regulation is key, as the revised MFF should be operational by 1 January 2024 to offer a framework for that year’s annual budget.
The interim report on the proposal for a mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 was approved by 393 votes against 136 and 92 abstentions.
A press conference with EP President Roberta Metsola and the co-rapporteurs takes place after the vote on 3 October at 14:00 in the Parliament’s press conference room in Strasbourg. Follow it live via web streaming.
Co-rapporteur Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL) said: “Our goal was an ambitious but realistic proposal for the MFF revision and we have managed to keep it targeted but comprehensive. We aim to stabilise Ukraine’s situation with a new €50 billion facility while bolstering the EU’s economy. We are reinforcing the budget with top-ups for migration and ensuring flexibility to respond to crises. –We are boosting the EU’s economy with STEP. And we are stabilising the budget by advocating for interest payments on debt owed on the EU’s Recovery Fund (EURI line) to be placed above the EU’s budgetary caps. We need all elements of the revision and we need it on time – before January 2024 – to enter the election year with a balanced budget.”
Co-rapporteur Margarida Marques (S&D, PT) said: “Today, the Parliament outlined the financial resources required for the upcoming four years. We urge the Council to join us in negotiations. By 31 December 2023, we want to have in place adequate means to support Ukraine and continue mitigating the war’s social and economic impact, along with rising inflation and the cost of living crisis. We want to secure the necessary funds to bolster the EU’s strategic autonomy, implement the Migration Pact, and navigate today’s complex global geopolitical landscape while ensuring the budget has adequate flexibility to address emerging needs, respond to humanitarian crises, and aid member states and citizens facing the increasing effects of natural disasters.”
With this plenary vote, Parliament’s negotiators are ready to engage in discussions with the Council (member states), which is yet to finalise its stance on the package.
The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) sets the annual limits (expenditure ‘ceilings’) on EU commitments in different policy areas (broad categories of spending called ‘headings’) and on overall annual payments for a period of seven years. The current framework for 2021-2027 was adopted in 2020 and provides for a review of the functioning of the MFF, with, where appropriate, proposals for a revision, by 1 January 2024. The European Commission proposed a mid-term revision on 20 June 2023.