Long-term EU budget: MEPs lay down funding priorities for post-2020 budget

Oettinger 2018 EU

© European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


In a vote on Wednesday, MEPs confirmed their position on the next EU long-term budget, including a precise breakdown of the amounts for each EU programme.

Parliament underlines its “unity and readiness” for the upcoming multiannual financial framework (MFF 2021-2027) negotiations with EU Ministers and regrets that member states have made “no significant progress” on finding a common position.

MEPs consider that the MFF proposal tabled by the European Commission is a starting point, but its proposed level “will not allow the EU to deliver on its political commitments and respond to the important challenges ahead”. They have thus confirmed the following priorities (list not exhaustive):

  • Set the budget for the Horizon Europe research programme at €120 billion in 2018 prices (Commission: €83.5 billion);
  • Boost the European strategic investment plan (“Juncker Plan”);
  • Increase funding for transport infrastructure and SMEs;
  • Maintain the financing of the long-standing cohesion and agricultural policies;
  • Double the resources for tackling youth unemployment, triple the resources for Erasmus+;
  • Set the EU’s contribution to the climate objectives target at a minimum of 25% of MFF expenditure and 30% as soon as possible, at the latest by 2027.

A new and simpler system of revenues

As to reforming the EU’s sources of revenue (“own resources”), MEPs stress that the current system is “highly complex, unfair and non-transparent and totally incomprehensible to the EU’s citizens”.

A new, simpler system should substantially reduce the gross national income-based direct contributions from member states and guarantee an adequate financing of EU spending under the new MFF. Parliament also approves the abolition of all rebates and other correction mechanisms.

MEPs demand the introduction of new own resources, such as one based on a new corporate tax scheme (including taxation of large companies in the digital sector), on revenues from the Emissions Trading System and on a plastic tax.

They stress that revenue and expenditure should be treated as a single package; thus all elements of the MFF/Own Resources package, and notably the MFF figures, should remain on the negotiating table until a final agreement is reached.

The interim report on the 2021-2027 MFF– Parliament’s position with a view to an agreement – by co-rapporteurs Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL), Isabelle Thomas (S&D, FR), Gérard Deprez (ALDE, BE) and Janusz Lewandowski (EPP, PL) has been adopted with 429 votes in favour, 207 against and 40 abstentions.

Next steps

Since the resolution on the MFF adopted in March 2018, Parliament is ready to negotiate, and talks can begin as soon as Council has agreed on a common position. The adoption of a new MFF Regulation requires Parliament’s consent.

MEPs expect “that a good agreement is reached before the 2019 European Parliament elections, in order to avoid the serious setbacks for the launch of the new programmes due to the late adoption of the financial framework, as experienced in the past.”

Background

Around 94% of the EU budget goes to citizens, regions, cities, farmers and businesses. The EU’s administrative expenses account for approximately 6% of the total.

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