Parliament urges Council to reach agreement on EU’s long-term budget


Parliament is calling on the Council to reach an agreement on the EU’s long-term budget soon or risk EU programmes being affected.

In its interim report on the  long-term budget for 2021-2027, Parliament says it regrets the lack of progress in the Council so far and proposes setting up regular meeting between Parliament negotiators and future Council presidencies.

The hope is to avoid major setbacks for future EU programmes and job losses due to a late deal on the budget, as has happened in the past.

Planning for the future

During a debate by the budget committee  on 9 October, Polish EPP member Jan Olbrycht, one of the MEPs responsible, said the report concerns the next steps of the budget as well as proposals regarding its structure and flexibility, providing specific figures for each EU programme.

MEPs say that the Commission proposal for a budget of 1.1% of the gross national income of the 27 member states would mean the EU was unable to deliver on its political commitments. This is why the report proposes to set the level at 1.3%, which French S&D member Isabelle Thomas, one of the other MEPs responsible, said would mean there was sufficient funding to deliver the policies the EU has announced.

Parliament opposes cuts on key EU policies, such as support for poorer regions, the common agricultural policy, the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative.

In line with the EU’s commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change, Parliament wants to significantly increase climate-related spending to reach a 30% target as soon as possible.

Revenue resources

There is also an issue with how the EU gets financed. The Parliament report insists there can be no agreement on the long-term budget without the EU being able to raise more of its own funding. It pointed out that the current system is “too complex, unfair and non-transparent”. Two sources of revenue – VAT and customs duties systems – are in need of modernising, while new sources should be gradually introduced.

Belgian ALDE member Gérard Deprez, one of the lead MEPs involved, said the EU having more own resources would make it possible to reduce the contributions by member states.

Parliament backs the Commission proposal from May for a mix of new own resources, including a common consolidated corporate tax base and taxes on energy and plastics packaging.

Polish EPP member Janusz Lewandowski, one of the lead MEPs involved, said that altough they welcomed the plans, they wanted to go even further: “We would like to extend this list of own resources with a digital tax and a financial transaction tax.”

MEPs will debate the report during the plenary session in Strasbourg on 13 November and vote on it the following day.