Policy Insight | Reading between the lines of Council agreement on the MFF and Next Generation EU | CEPS

The recent agreement on the EU budget is an unprecedented and historic achievement for the European Union. It has broken a taboo and advanced the integration process. We all saw that the negotiations were arduous, but given the magnitude of the challenge facing the heads of state and government, it would have been naïve to expect otherwise.  It is virtually impossible to find a comparable agreement between numerous countries in any other part of the world; by this measure alone it is impressive.

Having said that, what has been agreed is complex and bewildering to many. While attention has focused on the Next Generation EU, the agreement also includes the ‘normal’ multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021-27. Comments to the effect that the EU has deleted all funding for health, or much of the research budget, are based on the Next Generation EU ‘temporary’ measure and not on the underlying MFF.

This paper aims to present a brief rundown of the actual changes in numbers and reflect on the meaning of the agreement.

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