Post-2020 EU budget plans show purpose, but lack ambition, say MEPs

Most MEPs welcomed an EU Commission plan to raise national contributions to 1.11% of GNI and introduce new sources of revenue for the next long-term EU budget.

“In the presentation made by the Commission, the importance of a political budget was stressed. The principle of European added value is underlined. It is important that the significance of own resources, which is a key point of EP resolutions, has been emphasised. More funds for Erasmus+, research, SMEs and climate change are positive. We would have liked to have seen a budget of 1.3% of GNI. Given the budget reduction for agriculture and cohesion, we will do everything to defend our positions. It is important that the Commission has stressed the role of resources, in line with Parliament’s positions.”, said the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

The Commission’s proposals go in the right direction, most MEPs said, welcoming its  focus on funding mostly new priorities such as research, border management and migration, support for young people, defence and security, albeit less ambitiously than the EP’s own position.Many also welcomed plans to  link EU funding to respect for the rule of law.

A large majority also praised plans to introduce new own resources for the EU, based on a new corporate tax scheme, revenues from the Emissions Trading System and a plastic tax to reduce GNI-based direct contributions from member states.

Plans to reduce regional development and common agricultural policy funding would have to be discussed with the recipients, MEPs underlined, but Europe’s regions or farming communities should not be sacrificed. Some regretted that the plans lacked “vision” or bolder measures  to fight rising social inequalities or combat climate change. But others would have preferred the Commission to propose a reduced, rather than stronger, EU long-term budget for 2021-2027, and  protested against what they saw as political pressure exerted by  the EU on national governments through migration policy or the proposed “rule of law” condition for EU funding.

MEPs also reiterated that the long-term budget and own resources proposals, as well as the various programmes to be presented in May or June, e.g. for agriculture, regional development or research, will be treated as an indivisible package during the upcoming negotiations with the Council.

The European Parliament set out its positions on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) and EU own resources  on 14 March, in two resolutions on “Preparing the Parliament’s position on the MFF post-2020” and “Reform of the EU system of Own-Resources“.

MEPs are expected to respond to the Commission’s 2 May proposals in a a new resolution to be voted at the end of May.

Please click on the link to view the respective plenary speech:

Next steps

Next it will be the Council’s turn to agree its position on the next MFF, which requires Parliament’s consent. MEPs have called for talks with the Council and Commission to start without delay, to try to reach an agreement before the 2019 EU elections.