Q&A on the EU’s long-term budget (Multiannual Financial Framework, MFF)

Questions and answers on the EU’s long-term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (EU expenditure), and the reform of the EU’s Own Resources (EU revenue).

The process to establish the next long-term budget of the EU for the period 2021-2027 has started. It’s about the future of Europe, about whether the EU does less, the same or more for its citizens.

This Q&A reflects Parliament’s position and the state of play before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Commission has since announced that it will update its original May 2018 proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) to adapt it to the need for economic recovery, as the health crisis has hit member states’ economies hard. This also reflects what MEPs had asked for.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Parliament has approved a series of measures, budgetary and other, to tackle the consequences of the pandemic, and adopted a resolution in April, requesting a more robust and ambitious MFF. Once the details of the Commission’s proposal are released, Parliament will further adjust its position.

The European Parliament wants a post-2020 budget reform which matches its political commitments and ambitions for the future of the EU and ensures the continuity of the EU’s main policies like the regional and agricultural policies. This budget should also address future challenges for a stronger and more sustainable Europe. It should promote peace, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality, boost welfare, economic growth, quality employment, solidarity between member states and citizens, and contribute to fighting climate change.

The EU budget is primarily an investment budget and cannot run a deficit, which makes it unique. Around 93% of the EU budget benefit citizens, regions, cities, farmers, universities and businesses. While the EU’s administrative expenses account for less than 7% of the total EU budget. Membership of the Single Market brings further economic benefits, in particular for Member States that rely heavily on international trade.